Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winter Update #11:The Bird Next Door

6:30am-7:40am Peters' Hill and my block (by Forest Hills T station), Jamaica Plain
not so cold! streaky wispy clouds, colorful sunrise

It is hard to stick to one bird a day. There are so many to listen to, even in the dead of winter, and I have a hard time deciding when to turn off the recorder for the morning.

For example, today I encountered several candidates for Bird of the Day, including:
-my first binocular sighting of the wee-er bird (brown, sparrow-like) in mid-call
-another intergalactic-sounding bird, more songful than yesterday's trill

-the funky winter screech that I'm pretty sure is a blue jay, but haven't yet confirmed

But in the end, the winner is The Bird Next Door, who rang out as I was just a few steps from home. I really hope my neighbors don't think I was spying on them; the bird was perched on a bush right in front of their living room window, and I shamelessly aimed my binoculars, at it (them) for a good lengthy observation.

Here's his song:

Now I hope someone can help me ID him! He reminded me of an heirloom eggplant: creamy, with dotted streaks of purple-y red across his face and wings. So distinctive, I felt sure I'd find him instantly in my field guide, which sadly is not the case.

I only got a front-on view, so am not sure what his body/back were like.
The dotted streaks looked similar to Black-and-White Warbler, though of course crimson purple instead of black. Could it be a Song Sparrow with unusual coloring??

At home I started sketching some ideas based on the time and space in between calls, as opposed to the calls themselves. The "interstitial spaces", to borrow the term from an artist friend. What determines how much silence a bird leaves between phrases? What is the significance of that time? Is he listening, waiting, "counting" or feeling out a certain temporal distance before he goes again?

To be explored!

**Update 2/19: BOTD identified as a song sparrow. Thanks, Marc! **


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