At 07:27 AM 2/7/2005 -0500, Judy wrote: > >I've seen a robin, and a flock of bluebirds but the garden is still covered >with snow, melting slowly day by day. Here, several hundred miles south of you , we've been seeing robins for over a week. I always wonder about these early robins: are they our local-born-and-bred robins, or are they the ones on their way to Canada? The local birds are beginning to sing a bit, almost as if practicing. Having revealed myself in a recent Alpine-L posting to be a champion of noxious weeds, I will now reveal another of my lapses in judgement. We have a flock of over fifty house sparrows in the garden. They also roost in the thick shrubs and move around the outside of the house, following the sun. On sunny winter days their constant chatter and merry chirping fill the house - it's a very cheerful sound. They are not without their faults. Years ago they adopted a big winter jasmine as a favorite roost - not only do the buds and flowers provide a sort of salad bar, but the dense twiggy growth provides perfect cover when a Cooper's hawk shows up. I've watched dozens of the sparrows dive into the jasmine so deeply that you would not guess that there is a bird in that bush. Then, after a few minutes, someone must give the all clear, and little heads begin to pop up out of the bush - cool! When the crocus begin to bloom soon I'll have a different opinion of their activity, but for now they are welcome. Jim McKenney email@example.com Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I've heard red bellied woodpeckers and titmice warming up.