field sparrow

Dismal and cold, like a November day—except for the daffodils, the field sparrow’s rising trill, the red maple blossoms about to burst.

Sunny but cold. One of the tall locust trees in the yard has developed a loud creak. Two field sparrows are calling, but not to each other.

Warm and clear. As the morning wears on, the traffic noise from over the ridge diminishes, leaving only the field sparrow’s ascending song.

Last night’s heavy frost retreats to the shade. By 10:30, sparrows are bathing in the stream, shaking themselves dry in the sunlit dogwood.

A ruffed grouse drums and a field sparrow sings with almost the same accelerating rhythm. The hollow gurgle of the stream under the yard.

The rapid-fire drumming of a downy woodpecker on a hollow limb. A field sparrow’s ascending call. My partner snaps a photo of her feet.

A field sparrow forages in the seed heads of goldenrod inches from the porch, eye a black stone set in a white ring, keeping me in sight.