In her paean to birding, Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds, Lyanda Lynn Haupt writes:
There is a game birders play on New Year’s Day called “Bird of the Year.” The very first bird you see on the first day of the new year is your theme bird for the next 365 days. It might seem a curious custom, but people who watch birds regularly are always contriving ways to keep themselves interested. This is one of those ways. You are given the possibility of creating something extraordinary — a Year of the Osprey, Year of the Pileated Woodpecker, Year of the Trumpeter Swan. This game is an inspiration to place yourself in natural circumstances that will yield a heavenly bird, blessing your year, your perspective, your imagination, your spirit. New year, new bird.
After her breathless anticipation, Haupt espies… a European Starling, or “sky-rat.” The Year of the European Starling. Inauspicious, yes, but not without its charms, according to Haupt… and my daughter, for whom the much maligned starling was 2020’s bird of the year. (In 2021, we both saw goldfinches first.)
Tonight I will ensure that all of the feeders are topped off and that corn and nuts are scattered for the squirrels. (There are, of course, no squirrel-proof feeders, but I have learned that feed scattered away from the feeders will (mostly) keep those furry nuisances away from the birds and the more expensive seed.) What bird will 2022 bring me?
What will your bird of the year be?