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December 2021

Vol. 49, No. 6

Musings from the Blind Birder: Transitions

Martha Steele


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Photo by Sandy Selesky

It is mid-afternoon on September 19, 2021, and Alvin and I are lying half asleep on a lawn chair in our Vermont yard. The sun warms our face and bodies as we listen to occasional insect buzzing sounds and squirrels chattering and breaking small branches as they scamper among the trees in the forest. Chip notes from Yellow-rumped Warblers and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers drift to my ears. We are otherwise awash in silence and stillness save for our quiet breathing.

The days are getting shorter and the sun lower as we approach the autumnal equinox. The lush green of the summer is starting to give way to the brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges of the northern forest’s fall foliage. Migrants, largely silent, are passing through on their way to their wintering grounds. We listen and look for our resident Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to record the last day we note their appearance before they, too, are gone.

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