102 degrees in the shade.

The reading’s 102. I take the thermometer out of my mouth. Damn. Looks like the two-fisted birdwatcher’s not going into the snowy woods today.

Been wanting to see a Northern Shrike all winter. Wanted to report on something unusual. More than Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, Crows and freezing winter Robins.

But the only thing these two fists are going to be holding today is a mug of chicken soup. I raise the shade on the kitchen window, and settle in. Maybe the birds’ll come here if I can’t go to them.

The window pays off. Not big time, but small time. With a small sighting that can bring a smile to a guy when he’s sick. It was the small, terrifically named “Brown Creeper.” He was on the big tree outside the big kitchen window. He was brown and he was creeping.

Every time I looked he was there. Curved beak. Tireless routine. Upside down. Rightside up. Inching up, inching down. Bark-colored and blending in. If he didn’t move you wouldn’t see him.

The day’s freezing and the tree’s iron-hard. Tough to imagine the Creeper’s getting bugs or any stuff in the crevices. Maybe that’s why he’s working constantly. But he seems happy. Bright eyed and full of action.

The same tree reveals a Red-breasted Nuthatch which is not unusual but took my mind off feeling crappy. There were Cardinals from time to time, but you know all about them. They’re outside your kitchen window, too. I think there were waxwings in a faraway tree, but like I say, they were faraway so don’t count.

Later, my temperature creeped down toward normal. The chicken soup worked. Time and Tylenol worked. Doing nothing worked. But it’s not right to say “doing nothing.” There was a Brown Creeper. I watched it.

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