Date: 1/1/21 7:16 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] January 1, 2021: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:28 a.m. 23 degrees, wind S 3 mph. Sky: moon, a chip off full, setting
platinum in the west. A flotilla of pink infused clouds drifts eastward
across a sea of blue—a fine start to 2021. Permanent streams: upper, more
of the same. Lower, transformed into a woodwind, notes rising out of
cavities in the ice. Wetlands: frosted reeds and somber pines. The chatter
of passing crossbills. Pond: a desolate oval hemmed in skeletal trees, cold
as iron. Feeder stream sealed, hushed . . . the secrecy of ice.

Raven, *very* high over the marsh, calls attention to himself. Far below,
red-breasted nuthatch answers a muffled toot from deep within the pines, a
vague afterthought. Tick, ticking off the sunrise metronome, chickadee,
everywhere, congregating in alders, maples, hemlocks, cheery, passing from
feeder to forest. Ferrying seeds. An outpouring of *dee, dee, dee. *Chickadees
look alike to me . . . black bib and cap, immaculately white cheeks,
grayish, whiteish, beige-ish everywhere else. But where we see white
cheeks, they see ultraviolet, a color beyond purple, beyond our detection.
To a female, each male looks different, bears his own ultraviolet signature.

No matter how much I want a crossbill or an owl to be my first bird of
2021, before sunrise, standing in the kitchen, opening a can of dog
food, out of the corner of my eye, I see chickadees against the dawning
sky. Back and forth. Indulging the day, chickadees take me with
them—prisoner of their disposition.
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