Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Well-Traveled (Celebrity) Sparrow

golden-crowned2There has been a lot of excitement around the Eagle Optics store since a little celebrity showed up 8 days ago. The Golden-Crowned Sparrow visiting the feeding station outside the store's front window normally winters in the Pacific Northwest, and is a seldom-seen visitor in this part of the country. How seldom? Well, this is only the second recorded sighting in Wisconsin in nearly 50 years.

To have this bird right outside our Eagle Optics store, which sells the finest binoculars and spotting scopes to bird enthusiasts, is nothing short of serendipity. What does this mean? It means that (1) people coming to the store to buy optics stumble upon the chance to see this rare Golden-Crowned Sparrow, and (2) those coming solely to see this bird also find the best selection of optics in the midwest.

Amidst the hubub of visitors in the store, cars in the parking lot with enormous camera lenses protruding from the windows, and television and radio interviews, the bird methodically makes its way between the feeder and the tall grass behind the building. After a few days, we started putting out cookies and coffee for the observers who so patiently waited for their personal sighting. We offer comfortable chairs, loan binoculars if needed, and congratulate when they "get" the bird.

Our Golden-Crowned mingles alongside our familiar winter residents: Doves, juncos, house sparrows, woodpeckers, chickadees, and American Tree Sparrows. Occasionally, there is high drama when a Cooper's Hawk swoops through, and we silently, collectively hope that the bird the hawk takes is not our little visitor who traveled so far to bring smiles to so many. (Photo by Tom Prestby)

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: bring them. See what they bring you.

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