A new year has begun. It’s not so important to make resolutions as to start off with a mind open to new faces, experiences and opportunities. Face the new year with thoughts for our environment and ways we can all help to preserve it. Small ways like using cloth bags at the grocery store and other stores. Turning off lights, lowering the thermostat a couple of degrees, and reducing our footprint on our earth. It is hard to look at the big picture worldwide, but we can all do small things to help. Our northern part of the world is also beginning anew. Our days are slowly getting longer, although it will be a few weeks before we feel the difference from the sun. Bears will soon give birth in their dens, owls can be heard making their courting calls, and fox will start their yipping as mating season begins for them. Winter birds have arrived in time to be counted during the Christmas Bird Counts: red- breasted nuthatches, winter wrens, northern shrike, pine grosbeaks, horned lark, snow buntings, evening grosbeaks, common redpolls, and pine siskins. Scott and I participated in two counts, and were thrilled to see bald eagles, mockingbirds, kestrels, pheasants, bluebirds, and maybe a golden eagle. The golden was not clearly seen so we were not sure about its identification. We are still looking for bohemian waxwings who often flock with cedar waxwings. We have had more than our share of grey days but the birds at our feeders are colorful. Blue jays and bluebirds, red cardinals and finches, yellow goldfinches, and black, white and gray chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers paint the backyard with color. It takes more patience to appreciate color when walking in the woods, but there are green conifers and Christmas ferns, red berries and bittersweet, purple wild grapes, white snow, and trees patterned in many shades of brown, black and grey. We have not had many nights to stargaze, but if you happen to be up and about before dawn, look for Venus in the east with Jupiter to its left. The Full Moon after Yule is on January 21 this year. Happy New Year! Contact Bonnie Dundas at 802-447-7433 or email@example.com.