January 3rd was my 50th birthday. I celebrated by taking a long walk in McCormick Park. The path was still quite icy and I walked really slowly, enjoying the bird activity. Only the Stellar's Jays had been active in my neighborhood, and the robins I'd seen earlier in the week looked so stressed by the cold and snow that I worried about their survival.
I saw several small flocks of Trumpeter Swans, and was able to get one quick photo before they flew out of range. The Chickadees were busy and entertaining. I spooked a flock of Mallards off the water, and watched a noisy Kingfisher fly past.
The highlight of the walk came when the fire department sirens went off. A coyote howled from the brush on the hillside to my left! More than one, but probably fewer than 5 answered from my right...it sounded as if I was surrounded by coyotes! It was the best verse of "Happy Birthday" I've ever been privileged to hear.
I walked a bit further and saw coyote # 10, the lone voice on my left. He was limping, but still actively hunting the hillside. I wondered if he'd hurt himself on the ice...I was limping a bit myself, having slipped (again) on an icy patch. He lives close to the highway, with cars always a danger, and at least one frequent dog walker braggs about letting her labs chase the coyotes in that stretch of park. Whatever the reason for his injury, he looked in good condition...I hope to see him again soon.