For the last month I have been driving the back roads of Wilmot and flushing flocks of goldfinches and sparrows from the dirt and gravel. There are 50 miles of road in this little town and half of them are unpaved. Many of these flocks seem concentrated near the open fields and pastures, which are not common around here. An estimated 83% of the town is forested land, according to our inventory of natural resources.
This time of year, it is dark when I take the dog for a walk in the morning, and I see Orion, that harbinger of winter, in the western sky. But I don’t see any birds. Even the owls are silent this time of year. If the dog is especially rambunctious, she may disturb some sleeping white-throated sparrows, causing them to emit their somewhat querulous calls. They apparently don’t like to be awakened before dawn.