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Book of Days

BOOK OF DAYS: A POET AND NATURALIST TRIES TO FIND POETRY IN EVERY DAY

Filtering by Tag: goldfinch

February 9: Blizzard aftermath

Kristen Lindquist

This was one of the biggest snow storms I've ever experienced in Maine. My car was so completely buried under a snow drift, I couldn't even shovel it out myself--the snow was piled too high! The wind still roars, blowing loose snow around, undoing all our work to clear out the house and cars. Fallen branches peak from beneath finely sculpted drifts. Peaks and valleys of snow have transformed the landscape. At the feeders, goldfinches, chickadees, and house finches pecked through snow to get at the seed, then sat there eating, out of the wind, as long as they could.

Ice coats a finch's face--
she seems unbothered by it
while she feeds.

January 28: Two goldfinches

Kristen Lindquist

Home sick today I spent almost the entire time on the couch, reading and napping with the cat stretched out alongside me. When I first got up, I had the good fortune to catch sight of an eagle flying upriver, white tail flared like a flag. It paused in the backyard until chased off by crows. That drama past, the rest of my day was occasionally brightened by the appearance of two goldfinches at the window feeder, taking their time each visit to chow down on the black oil sunflower seed.
Two finches feeding,
unaware of the impact
of their presence.

January 1, 2013: First birds

Kristen Lindquist

At the start of each new year, I like to keep track of the first birds I see. When I got up, a crow flew through the backyard, sweeping past like a shadow against the snow. Nothing new there. Later, on a long snowshoe hike at the Ducktrap River Preserve, through sheltering hemlocks whose snowy boughs filtered sunlight onto snow patterned with snowshoe hare tracks, we only had one new species: Black-capped Chickadee. Back home, a swirl of Herring Gulls. And one goldfinch singing unseen in the neighbor's arbor vitae. And that was all. (It probably didn't help that my little window feeders were soaking in the sink, awaiting a cleaning and refill.)

If I'd really been trying, I'd have headed for the harbor or some other open water. Several birders posted observations of ducks on the Maine birding list-serv today. But I like to see what comes to me for the first day of the year, as some kind of portent. To see/hear those familiar birds might be auspicious for a year ahead full of good friends, for example. Or perhaps sustained pleasure of what I enjoyed in the year newly past.

Year's first birds appear
in stark black and white:
crows against snow, chickadees.

Ducktrap River from the Backcountry Ski Trail


December 27: Riders on the storm

Kristen Lindquist

A nor'easter sent snow and freezing rain gusting around my office today. I live too close to work for the weather to be an excuse not to show up, and we didn't lose power, so I put in a full day there. I was, however, pleasantly distracted for much of that time by the birds flocking my tiny window feeders. The regulars--chickadees and titmice--showed up, of course, and what I think is a solitary White-breasted Nuthatch. And then some finches I hadn't seen in a while made an unexpected appearance: goldfinches, their yellow throats looking positively sunny against the snow, Pine Siskins, and at least three redpolls--a boreal visitor I've only had at my feeders a couple times before. The finches chattered away as they chowed down; I could hear them through the window despite the roar of the wind.

Redpolls peck seed from snow.
I catch myself thinking
of raspberries.
Redpoll visitor from last year (window too splattered with snow to get a photograph today!)