So Happy to Offer a Soft Spot to Land

The header photo is a Song Sparrow. I spot them all around our property, both during winter and summer. When they begin singing for the season, it’s a song that I hear many times each day.

There are a few “Common bird in steep decline,” as per the AllAboutBirds website, which also spend some time on our farm-gone-natural in central Illinois.

The other day, I spotted a pair of Field Sparrows, one of those species with seriously declining populations, flitting about near our pond. I felt as if they had just arrived at their summertime resort and were checking out the accommodations. I could almost hear the one bird say to his partner, “Hey, Honey! They still have this bush we like to perch in!”

These are super cute birds that breed here during the summer. Yesterday, for the first time this season, I heard their interesting vocalization which some refer to as the sound of a bouncing ping pong ball.

Another sparrow species that is considered “common bird in steep decline” is the American Tree Sparrow. This species spends its winters in our area, then breeds up in northern Canada and Alaska. These are not great photos, but I think it’s important to document their residency here at our farm.

Another “common bird in steep decline” that lives at our place all year long, is the Eastern Meadowlark. I caught some images of this bird the same day I filmed the sparrows.

It gives me a warm-fuzzy feeling to know that these birds have somewhere safe to hang out (a little or a lot) in on our little parcel of naturalized land that is surrounded by plowed fields.

While the Hooded Merganser isn’t considered threatened and is found year-round in our zone, I rarely see these birds. A few days ago, I spotted a small flock of six just before they flew off as I entered the pond area, then a pair came back and hung out at the very far side of the pond. Yesterday, a similar situation happened (a small flock flew off as I approached), but a single male returned and I was able to get a couple of decent photos of him. These are very interesting birds to watch. They sit very low in the water and at times they raise their crest feathers to present a very unique appearance.

2 Comments on “So Happy to Offer a Soft Spot to Land

  1. Amazing collection of photos! I have only seen a couple hooded mergansers in my life. They are pretty fascinating birds.

    • Thank you, Mark. At this time of year, I never know what I might see at our pond. They’ll be here one day and gone the next. I assumed it’s just a quick stop for rest and a quick snack as they migrate. If I’m lucky, I’ll catch a glimpse…luckier, I will get a photo.

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