For the Birds: First bird of the year

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Varied Thrush

Text and Photos by Christine Southwick

Birders are eternal optimists -- they will go out in all kinds of weather to see a new bird that is reported to be close by.

They will drive miles for a two-minute look at a bird that is only visiting this area. 

Only an optimist would take that chance.

American Goldfinch
Birders study bird pictures, listen to bird songs, calls and chips, and learn their habits so that they can identify an often fast-moving bird quickly.

Birders like to set up challenges — most birds in a county; most birds in a year; first bird of the year…

Band-tailed Pigeon
First Bird of the Year means that the morning of the new year when you identify the first bird you see (or hear if you are an advanced birder), that bird becomes your totem for the year.

Suppose that the first bird I see/hear is a Hairy Woodpecker, or a Varied Thrush, a Band-tailed Pigeon, or even an American Goldfinch.

Hairy Woodpecker, male
First, I would look up that bird to refresh my knowledge about this species. 

And then every time I my first-of-the year bird I will smile and think “That’s Good Luck!”


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