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Posts Tagged ‘First Bird of 2018’

“Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind – listen to the birds. And don’t hate nobody.” – Eubie Blake.

Male Anna’s Hummingbird. — Wikimedia photo

Portent of the Birding Year Ahead  

For the first four years (2000-2003) after I became a passionate birdwatcher, the first bird of the year was always a house sparrow. That’s probably because I had a generational family of them living and raising chicks in the thick cedar bush right outside my bedroom window.

Female Anna’s Hummingbird. — Wikimedia photo

The first bird of the year, at least for a birder, is considered a portent of the year to come, which is why Noah Strycker, author of Birding without Borders, which is about his search to see 5000 birds in one year, found himself sitting in a hot tub on the deck of a ship in the Antarctic at midnight waiting for Jan. 1, 2015 to arrive. He was hoping it would be his year of the penguin.

It should have happened, but it didn’t. Nary a bird was in sight as he scanned the horizon in the midnight sun. The water soon got cold, and Noah went in, dressed, and took up his watch at the back of the ship. At 3 a.m., he finally spotted the first bird of his journey. It was a cape petrel.

While it wasn’t a penguin, “it was perfect,” Noah wrote. “Petrels, in their infinite grace, are thought to be named for Saint Peter and his habit of walking on water. With a blessing like that, the Year of the Petrel was off to an auspicious start,” he said.

In my fifth year of birding, I was on Guam, and was pretty sure this year my first bird wasn’t going to be a sparrow. And I right. But it wasn’t until about 3 p.m. in the afternoon, that I finally got my first bird of the year. Guam, I had discovered, was almost bereft of birds because of the, non-native, nasty, ugly brown tree snake that raided the island’s bird nests.

My first bird of 2004 turned out to be a yellow bittern.

            This year, my first bird of the year was an Anna’s Hummingbird, which came to the nectar feeder on my living room balcony, where I watched for it’s arrival while drinking my cream-laced coffee.

As an animal totem, the hummingbird symbolizes joy, playfulness and adaptability. I’m looking forward now to my Hummingbird Year.

Bean Pat: See Mike’s first bird of the year. https://naturehasnoboss.com/2018/01/01/everyday-blessings/

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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