Two downy woodpeckers tap at the base of a bare tree. No buds yet. Robins sing from all directions; there’s one on the lawn, one on the road, two in the pine. There is a light rain, growing louder as I sip my coffee, but not an avian eyelash is batted – it is spring and there is too much to do. A red-bellied woodpecker has joined the downys. A song sparrow melody rings out from the shrubs beside the old barn. Two juncos tease each other from low branches. Red-winged blackbirds trill, there’s a few grackles too. I’m appreciating them, as I’ve been out of the east for some time. Appreciating robins too, despite their ordinariality and gutter-sucking habits. Their clucking and whinnying and constant jest lend to their good nature. They seem more like humans than other birds. Maybe that’s a large claim to make; I’ll just say that I, at least, identify with them. A few crows I hear in the distance now. It’s quieted down in the yard a bit. Cold toes, empty mug. I’m going inside.


I spent some time wandering around the old barn, with a general sadness about how it was once a home for livestock and now all that remains are slouching doorways and splintering beams. It’s a project that wouldn’t be worth the investment. But as I came around the south side, I discovered that this old barn is, in fact, still a home. These Eastern Phoebes have claimed it for themselves this season. It made my day!

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