Between bitter gusts of wind, I hear the calls of juncos and nuthatches, chickadees and titmice, a song sparrow singing in the ditch.
Sunrise stains the treetops. The woods are full of anxious-sounding calls: chipmunks, jays, nuthatches, an endlessly scolding squirrel…
Christmas Bird Count! Crow, junco, white-throated sparrow. Three chickadees, two nuthatches and a cardinal. Nothing in the damn pear tree.
Colder, with a flat white sky and the ground lightly seasoned with snow. A lone nuthatch zigzags and spirals up the trunk of a tall locust.
A nuthatch and chickadee gadding about together, poking into everything. Nuthatch flies past my nose; chickadee balks and circles the house.
Overcast and windy. Two nuthatches descend tree trunks on either side of the road, calling back and forth as they glean in the furrows.
Five nuthatches land in the walnut tree and begin scuttling up and down its trunk in the pouring rain, poking and probing the furrowed bark.
Two nuthatches meet on a branch for a split-second copulation, then fly off to separate tree trunks to resume foraging, tails to the sky.
Four squirrels descend a tree in single file and disperse into the brush. The stream still runs high. A nuthatch rattles his anxiety cup.
The nasal alarm calls of nuthatches, one to the south and one to the north. The sun is a yellow stain on a white tablecloth. A silent raven.
Freezing rain on a bed of sleet: like listening to thousands of pins dropping. A nuthatch ascends a tree head-first like a brown creeper.
Just as bright as yesterday, but warmer. The snow is difficult to look at. I bite into an apple and a nuthatch scolds me for the noise.
The trees seethe with the small birds of winter. Even the cherry stump beside the porch attracts a nuthatch’s thorough investigation.
Goldfinch, nuthatch, catbird, wren. The herb-garden chipmunk, cheeks bulging, pauses on top of the wall to groom its paws.
A jay’s call isn’t harsh, a nuthatch’s isn’t querulous: so hard to hear the music of what happens. Every day some poet dies from the strain.
Overcast and cold. An agitation of nuthatches at the edge of the woods, and somewhere beyond, the thin, high whistle of a tree sparrow.