A lull in the snowfall and the yard is alive with juncos, hopping around each clump of dried grass, gleaning their second breakfast.
Overcast. A strong smell of sewage from the treatment plant two miles away. Juncos forage in the dead stiltgrass, chirping back and forth.
With birds, a cold and overcast day isn’t gloomy. Their bright chirps and taps. The flashes of white when slate-colored juncos take wing.
Juncos’ soft whistles. A white-throated sparrow’s melancholy song. The joyful shrieks of our neighbors’ four-year-old grandchildren.
The snow has gone slushy, turning the hollow from a soundproof room into an echo chamber. Over the traffic noise, a junco’s cadenza.
The wind has died; it’s zero. Through my balaclava and hood I can hear the excited chirps of juncos on the plowed road foraging for grit.
An almost unearthly calm, punctuated as ever by birds: woodpeckers, counter-singing wrens, a flock of juncos drinking from the dark stream.
The trees are turning silver and beginning to droop with the weight of freezing rain. A few juncos, undaunted, are bathing in the stream.
Where the stream fans out beside the springhouse, birds hop down the snowbanks and into the water to bathe: sparrows, juncos, Carolina wren.
Five inches of wet snow like an April Fool’s prank that came a few hours late. The juncos at the bird feeder can twitter about nothing else.