How are NY’s Resolutions like celebrity marriages?

Well, that lasted less long than most.  Anyway, it occured to me last week that after only a couple weeks since the solstice, the days seem to have got a lot longer – it seems like almost an hour longer already.  No wonder we have all these traditional year’s end/new year’s/festival of light-kind of celebrations around the solstice.  It’s such an obvious thing even for us modern disconnected-from-nature city dwellers.  And speaking of nature, a couple things struck me this past week, besides the grim necessity of setting my alarm clock every night now that the holidays are over.  First, it seems that our backyard has become one of the preferred stops for our local Sharp-shinned Hawk.  I knew that letting it grow into an impenetrable jungle would be good for things other than my laziness and my back.  We’re just down the road from a fellow who’s courageously trying to raise racing pigeons (talk about selective pressure!), and there’s lots of good hunting in our vicinity for some of the larger songbirds such as starlings and cardinals and such.  The female likes to pluck her victims on the ground in the southeast corner of the yard, judging by the periodic feather piles there.  I had thought that Sharpies plucked their birds on a perch, but I guess that doesn’t always hold true, or maybe that’s just the smaller males.  The second thing is that lately I have been hearing a good bit of crow noise, but essentially all of it has been the regular American Crow, rather than Fish Crows, as has been the case for much of the past decade.  It seems that the American Crow population has finally rebounded pretty well from the West Nile hammering it took a while back.  When was that, about twenty years ago?  I still wonder if there has been much (or any) hybridizing, as over the years I’ve heard a lot of more-or-less intermediate caws and calls, but I suppose we’ll have to wait until some graduate student at Towson or Loyola gets the urge to do a genetic study.  Shame no instructor ever wanted to do a longitudinal sort of survey, but I guess it would have been a lot of trouble.  So many interesting things, so little money or student resources to do them, so much we don’t know about even the most common things around us.


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