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Travel with us as VENT Tour Leaders share their most memorable experiences in some of the world’s greatest travel destinations!

March 5, 2021


By Michael O'Brien

What is a most wanted bird? For me, that can change moment to moment. On February 28th, my most wanted bird was Fox Sparrow. I see Fox Sparrows in my yard almost every day in the winter, but I especially wanted to see one that day. I don’t know what my first bird was—it wasn’t Fox Sparrow. But in my old birding notebooks, a Fox Sparrow seen out the kitchen window on February 28, 1971 was my earliest entry. So that day, being the 50th anniversary of my first Fox Sparrow, I kind of wanted to see one.

Fox Sparrow, West Cape May - Michael O'Brien

I went out and filled the feeders in the morning, and sat with my coffee, watching the birds come and go. It was a bit of a dreary morning, with a light sprinkle of rain and subdued bird activity. No sign of Fox Sparrows. A flock of Canada Geese flew over, and with them was a Greater White-fronted Goose, a local rarity that’s been hanging around recently. Exciting to see, but not the bird I was after. An odd sense of disappointment was settling in, but finally, after an hour of waiting, I heard a Fox Sparrow chipping across the street! And a short while later, there it was, scratching the ground outside the kitchen window, right where it was supposed to be.

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