My family plays a game every New Year’s Day where we ensure that our first bird of the year is a “good” one. It involves a blindfold. Before you become alarmed, let me do some ‘splainin’.
This started back in the early days of Bird Watcher’s Digest (then published in our house on Warren Street in Marietta, Ohio) when the busy feeders in the backyard of the Thompson family abode often yielded a European starling, rock pigeon, or a house sparrow for nearly everyone’s first bird of the year. This happened because we’d rise bleary-eyed on New Year’s Day and head downstairs for some coffee. Without thinking, we’d look out the kitchen window and accidentally see our first bird of the new year. Sometimes it was a Carolina chickadee or Carolina wren. Sometimes it was a downy woodpecker. Usually, though, it was one of the hordes of the three “sky rat” species I mentioned earlier.
So we started choosing one lucky person to be blindfolded and led to the window by the rest of us. A spotting scope would be trained on the feeders. Then, once a nice bird appeared, such as a red-breasted nuthatch, a northern cardinal, an evening grosbeak, etc., we’d remove the blindfold and the lucky soul would get their first bird of the year!
Now, you may not want to go to such extremes, but then again you might! And if you do, then please let us know what the species is and what you had to do to get it!
Me, I’m hoping for a snowy owl. This might require some driving.
About the Author
Bill Thompson III is the editor and co-publisher of Bird Watcher's Digest. He's the author of many books about birds and a frequent speaker and guide on the birding festival circuit. His favorite bird is the red-headed woodpecker.