Just a quick note about this photograph, texted to me from Alan Klotz in Garrett County. They are Evening Grosbeaks. I have not seen them in years, and Alan’s photo takes me back to winters in a small Massachusetts town. These amazing birds, colorful as canaries, would show up in our backyard to feed on the sunflower seeds my father tossed into a spot he had cleared with a shovel. We never had a bird feeder; after a heavy snow, the old man would just toss seeds onto the concrete cover of the cesspool, assuming he had shoveled down that far. Then, in a little while, these grosbeaks would show up — a flock of them, and I mean 15 to 20 at a time. It was like something from a magic act in a traveling carnival: Tropical birds on a gray winter day in a gray winter town. All these years later, in Baltimore, I have waited for them to show up again, and I’ve never seen one. Then today, this photo arrived via digital magic: Evening Grosbeaks on Alan’s feeder out there in the far western part of the state. Lucky man, he says there were up to 50 of them today. I hope someday the carnival this way comes.

7 thoughts on “Winter canaries

  1. Hi Dan,

    I am not sure that I have ever seen an Evening Grosbeak in my back yard but I will keep an eye out. Loads of other birds though and a friend of mine is coming out next week and we will go birding. Ideally I would like to go to Race Point to see Murres, Razorbills and other interesting species that frequent that area this time of year. I imagine it is bitter cold — perfect for these birds.

    Thanks for sending. Looking forward to meeting you whenever you visit and have time.



    Liked by 1 person

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