Song Sparrow in the Snow

I usually hear a song sparrow before I see him. Not this time. On Tuesday, 21 January 2014 a winter storm deposited about a foot of snow on our backyard. The office closed early, and so I got to look out on the backyard at about 2:00 in the afternoon when there were only about two inches of snow on the ground. There were two doors and two panes of glass between me and the backyard, so I could hear only the whistling of the wind.

The feeders were full at the start of the day and so as the snow fell they attracted quite a crowd. Among the birds on the ground was song sparrow. Song sparrows visit our backyard occasionally. Still, I was surprised to see this one, although I can’t say why.

He stayed in one place and did something that I had never seen a bird do. He scratched or dug at the accumulating snow with both feet in a hopping motion. He was apparently working to uncover seeds or seed fragments that had fallen from the feeder.

In my imagination I can hear the sparrow’s song now, but I can also hear the lyrics “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”

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