Winter II

Maybe it was my peripatetic upbringing, but I didn’t know until fairly recently that trees carry their buds all through winter. I just assumed they appeared right before they opened up as the days grew longer and temperatures rose in the spring. This was another instance of my not actually seeing while I was looking.

On some tree species, the buds are quite small, but this magnolia shows that they can be plenty conspicuous.
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The phrase “dead of winter” was clearly coined by a dullard. Much of the natural world is, it is true, tucked away, but the most obvious animals, the birds, are as active as ever. These are the species of birds I’ll be on the lookout for in Prospect Park this weekend:

Canada goose, Mute swan, American coot, Mallard, American black duck, Northern shoveller, Ring-billed gull, Great black-backed gull, Herring gull, Red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, Sharp-shinned hawk, Peregrine, Merlin, Kestrel, Downy woodpecker, Hairy woodpecker, Red-bellied woodpecker, Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Red-breasted nuthatch, White-breasted nuthatch, Mourning dove, Rock dove (a.k.a. pigeon), Blue jay, American crow, Black-capped chickadee, American robin, Northern mockingbird, Tufted titmouse, Northern cardinal, Red-winged blackbird, Brown-headed cowbird, Rusty cowbird, Song sparrow, Fox Sparrow, White-throated sparrow, Chipping sparrow, American tree sparrow, Dark-eyed junco, American goldfinch, House finch, Pine siskin, House Sparrow, European starling.

Yes, this is Brooklyn: all of these have been reported in the park within the last week. On Thursday, a trio of Black vultures was seen overhead, unusual for this time of year — so you never know what you’ll see.

2 Responses to “Winter II”


  1. 1 Out walking the dog January 15, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Looks like some poor squirrel angered a Greek god & got turned into a magnolia bud. Only the tail remains.

  2. 2 mthew January 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Bernini couldn’t have said it better.


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