Bird of the year

This entry was adapted from previously published posts.

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.

Our family has played this game long enough that we needed to rework the rules a bit or risk getting the same birds again and again. And again. This year, my husband and I decided to choose the first birds we espied on our first walk of the new year. He has embraced a Year of the Canada Goose. And I? Imagine my delight when a red-tailed hawk flew across my path.

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3 thoughts on “Bird of the year

  1. I’m jealous of your bird! The red-tailed hawk is a personal favorite. Mine is the year of the Turkey Vulture. That sounds rather foreboding, but I actually admire the vulture. They provide such a valuable and helpful service to nature. Can you image if there were no carrion birds to clear away the dead?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After a failed attempt a few days ago, I have cleared my cache, created a new gravatar, and—if early indications are correct—I might be able to successfully comment here again! I was so happy to read this post and chagrined that I forgot to notice my first bird of the year. Possibly the first time I’ve forgotten since you introduced me to the practice so many years ago! I do recall seeing a junco on the feeder (so common, so dear) on New Year’s Day, and I’m trying to remember if that was before or after the flock of bush tits descended on the suet. Alas, not the bald eagle we saw on our walk three or four days into the new year!

    Liked by 1 person

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