Combined Beats’ List – November
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Common and would be very familiar if it allowed itself to be seen. Usually found in dense tangled vegetation and trees, particularly near homes, but also more extensive woodlands. It's amazing how something so small can make so much noise you are sure to have heard it. A large repertoire of songs, calls, and scolds, cheery, cheery, cheery perhaps the best known. If you are not sure of a sound, it's probably this species. Skulks around, on or near the ground, tail nearly always cocked (straight when singing). Climbs trees nuthatch-like, often hanging pside down and entering holes. Inquisitive, it goes to odd places--garages, through the open window, under the car, in plant pots, and just about any nook it can get into: perhaps you have found one stuck somewhere. Sometimes bobs up and down. Hops rather than walks. Very aggressive, the yard boss.How's that for character? This is just the first part of the species account, not the ID section. It is fun writing, but it also gives you a good feel for the bird itself--and for Crossley, behavior and personality are as much of a field mark as anything. So don't skip the text, even if you don't get a long list of field marks. If you get a sense of what the bird is like, that may be as useful as anything (just like Pete Dunne's species nicknames and descriptions of how each bird flies may have been the most valuable part of his Essential Field Guide Companion).