The sparrows which nest in spring at the very peak of a wood-frame Christmas tree tacked to the front of the house are back -- back and building, refurbishing, and repairing the nest.
Or maybe I shouldn't say they're back.
I don't know if it's the same sparrows that were there last year. Perhaps I should be able to distinguish them and greet them by name, but I can't. They are tan and skittish when I come near to watch them build ... just as I know they will be fiercely protective once the eggs are laid and need caring for.
That was the way it was last year and the year before.