A puffed up male ruffed grouse is a weird looking thing, indeed. It’s got two layers — the opened ruff and spread out tail – either one alone would be eye-catching. When not strutting, there is incessant drumming, oddly hard to locate the source as it rattles the air in all directions.

The winter wren has the most complex bird song in the world. Also, the most heartening that I know of. Never fails to lift the spirit.

Annual visit from a fox sparrow. Would it still be a favorite if it were abundant and here all summer? I think so, just on account of the red rustiness of its belly stripes and rump.

Don’t forget to bring the birdfeeders in. I lucked out last night by attracting a raccoon, not a bear. Damage was minimal.

Goldfinch males are acquiring their golden coats, but in the process they are mottled and look disheveled, not unlike what some people look like when just out of bed in the morning.

The raspy, rough song of the phoebe is welcome. Not many birds emitting such a screechy racket inspire as much fondness. It’s a bit on the drab side, but nonetheless lovable for that, too.

The song sparrow’s song is quite distinctive, but the performers differ from one another more than among most birds. John James Audubon wrote that, “Though its attire is exceedingly plain, it is pleasing to hear,” but this is not right: Just take a close look and you’ll see that they are elegant and well-dressed.

The little well-named fungus called scarlet cup is up. It’s amazingly bright, a deep glowing red. Some people eat these little darlings but they are small and opinions differ as to their flavor. In days gone by they were used as table decorations. They do a good job at decorating the forest floor in April.

It’s still pretty cold and there are no wild leeks, no false hellebore, but just at the margin of the melting snowpack, sugar maple seeds are germinating.