Nature’s Artist

You’ve probably seen the artistic works of elephants or chimpanzees using a paintbrush. How about a little bird creating abstract designs with its feet?

It’s fun to find patterns in nature, and this canvas showed up one morning after a few light flurries had dusted the ground. On the patio blocks beneath a suet feeder, ‘someone’ had tap-danced around picking up bits of food. The intricate design is the work of Dark-eyed Juncos that have been hanging around this winter in groups of 1 or 2, or a dozen or so.

This sparrow-sized songbird is found across North America, but some of the 6 subspecies have limited ranges. Our visitor—the Slate-colored Junco—is mostly gray (male) or gray/brown (female) with white underparts and a pink beak. White tail edges flash as a conspicuous identifier when they fly up at the least disturbance. It is a ground feeder, so it comes to clean up what other feeder birds drop.

I’ve always enjoyed its soft trill and its fluttery flight.

Now I can admire its artistic ability, least until the snow melts.


3 responses to “Nature’s Artist

  1. Gillian, thanks for sharing your bird observations.
    A sparrow hawk visited my terrace on Saturday. (On its first visit; I happened to have a friend here who recognized the bird.) A close friend in IL, USA, had a sparrow hawk visit her terrace on Sunday.
    Interesting — though we live half way around the world, we had similar visitors just one day apart. I’m no expert on birds, so I know very few of those you mention.

  2. The sparrow hawk posed for me as I tried to take its picture from two different windows.

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