Date: 6/16/20 7:19 pm
From: Nancy Goodrich <nancyg3219...>
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] June 15, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
THANKS FOR this treasure, Ted!!!

On Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 10:17 AM Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...> wrote:

> 5:05 a.m. 49 degrees, wind WSW 0 mph. Sky: delightfully overcast; suitable
> to Winslow Homer or Thomas Moran; detail-rich and colorful; textured and
> windrowed; cracks and bumps and holes edged with lambent runs of sunlight,
> shiny like polished silver; lavender accents; just above the hilltops to
> the south, a line of blush. No mist and almost no running water. Woods:
> shadowed and cool. Wetlands: greener and drier than yesterday.
> After four days roosting behind the barn door, the bat has left; a free
> spirit. Beneath each of the three light fixtures in the barn and beneath
> each of the three on the barn porch: a phoebe nest, six of them, all
> well-pressured; a history of symbiosis. Something for an avian archeologist
> to contemplate. The first nest on the west side of the barn,
> the end closest to the absent bat, is active. Parents perch on oak limbs
> just beyond the door, tail flicking, quietly chipping, waiting to foray for
> flying insects.
> Both sides of the road: Stereophonic red-eyed vireos, urgent and tiresome.
> A bashful blue-headed vireo in a nearby maple, far less enthusiastic, makes
> his presence know. My neck aches searching for him. A parula warbler in a
> maple; a rising buzzy song that jumps up a notch at the end; a pole
> vaulting-song with a final kick over the bar. House wren, appearing to be
> on Prozac, trims outpouring; sounds almost bored, almost stoned.
> A robin street stalking, picks at items smaller than June bugs.
> Unfortunately, familiarity has bred disregard. The loss, of course, all
> mine. Robin, the first bird I met on my parents' suburban lawn. Since then,
> I've seen them everywhere, from in Central Park to Hudson Bay. On Kodiak
> Island, robins hopped through leaf litter in the shadow of brown bears. In
> the 1970s, they were rare winter birds that occasionally visited dairy
> farms; now, they strip my holly berries in January before moving on. In the
> mid-eighties, during one severe winter, clouds of tens of thousands robins
> descended on the Everglades; they survived on the red fruit of an invasive
> shrub called Brazilan pepper. Defecating robins spread pepper seeds. Now, a
> portion of the multi-billion dollar Everglades restoration effort includes
> control of ubiquitous Brazilan pepper, whose stranglehold on mangrove
> jungles is due in part to the discharge of robins.
> Currently, the robin in front of me works the roadside, hopping and
> pecking, flicking leaves. If a Costa Rican came to visit and I showed him
> an American robin, he'd notice a resemblance to his national bird, the
> clay-colored thrush. Erect and plump; hopping; carries a tune. Inveterate
> leaf flipper. He'd also notice that a robin is rather handsome: an Ansel
> Adams middle-tone gray back; dark head and face; black eyes hemmed by
> white; bright yellow bill; burnt orange chest and belly; white undertail
> coverts; tail dark like head with white spots on the corners that flashes
> when it flies.
> Removing blinkers and describing an American robin . . . almost cathartic.
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