First Snow and a Canyon Towhee

By P. Nixon

By P. Nixon

I Heard a Bird Sing
by Oliver Herford

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

“We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

 Photo Credit: K Schneider via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: K Schneider via Compfight cc

I don’t see him much, if at all,  in the spring and summer, but I can always count on the canyon towhee (Melozone fusca) to show up on my portal in the winter.  Our first major snow came early this year and sure enough, there was my favorite backyard bird perched on a collapsed tomato plant. 

 

He looks like a fancy, over-sized sparrow with his ruddy crown and dark spot in the middle of his breast.  He usually hops around my container plants, pecking at the seed that falls from the bird feeder, but on this snowy day he looked miserable, even though I realize I am projecting my feelings about the cold, wet weather on this small feathered creature.  He perked up when I threw out a handful of millet from a five-pound bag, purchased especially for him. 

 

Late in the day the sun came out and the canyon towhee was joined by flickers, finches, and some bossy pinyon jays.  They took not-so-patient turns at the feeder while he pecked at their leftovers in the snow.

 

 

 

 

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