February 18th, 2019: Just because it’s impossibly cold and snowy, doesn’t mean there aren’t birds
…but it does mean I didn’t really do any birding this week. Add a busy teaching week to this difficult weather and I wasn’t going to just walk around to see birds. Everything is frozen, including my face. BUT! on my walk commute (when I always listen for birds), I heard a new bird for the year from a low hedge along the sidewalk: White-throated Sparrow.
White-throated Sparrows are uncommon in Vancouver (where I’ve done most of my birding), so their chips and slightly drawn-out call notes grab my ear. Most of the White-throated Sparrows I’ve seen in Minnesota tend to have the “white-striped” eyebrow, rather than the “tan-striped” version. When I see White-throated Sparrows out west (rarely), they’re more often tan-striped. White-striped birds tend to be more aggressive that tan-striped birds, but after breeding the aggressiveness calms down and fall flocks forage together. And whether a bird is white-striped or tan-striped apparently has no bearing on their social status.
The pair was a nice distraction from the biting cold and seemed to be part of a small dynamic mixed flock trying to keep their energy up. There were Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Black-capped Chickadee, Pine Siskin, White-breasted Nuthatch. Nothing unusual, but a reminder that life does indeed go on…even when it’s only just barely dawn and the windchill is about -30ºF.