But it’s a new year, with new lists to make and new birds to see. Many bird blogs have mentioned the excitement of getting to tick “boring” birds again, but I’ve tried to go one better and really look at them with new eyes, because there’s really no such thing as a boring bird. Even chickens can be interesting, like for instance when they try to kill you.

Today, what I noticed in particular was Black-capped Chickadees, and in particular in particular the way that the gray on their backs is almost green in some individuals. It’s really very pretty. Looking at that color is like sleeping in a mossy glade. In fact, chickadees with the gray and black and greenish and bluish and buff and cream, are like a very small portable mossy glade with rocks and a stream and some mushrooms. Edible mushrooms. Maybe oyster mushrooms.

And then there’s the Northern Cardinal. I know it’s a Christmas-card cliche, but a male Cardinal in a snowstorm on some evergreen branches is just about the best thing ever in basic visual composition. Warm color, cool color, neutral. Throw in a cinnamon-toast female, even better.

This list doesn’t count for my BGBY, unfortunately, because getting to my parents’ joint involves a car to ride me from the train station to here, but the birds of the first day of 2008 are:

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricappilus
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus
Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker Colaptes auratus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus

It’s interesting that several of these species didn’t enter my 2007 list until quite late; the differences between NYC and Buffalo winter birds are striking. In particular, my mom’s feeder has White-crowned Sparrows regularly and White-throated Sparrows sporadically; in Prospect Park, the reverse is true.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a new species of liocichla has been discovered in northeastern India. Unfortunately, a highway is planned for the area where ten of the fourteen recorded sightings have taken place.

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