I love my ears. They aren't especially attractive, or unattractive either, but they play a very important part in my bird and insect observations. When botanizing, the only way for me to know what birds are around is to hear them singing or calling, as I am intently focused on what is on the ground, not what is in the trees.
Yesterday, I ran 6.5 miles with Lindsay and her dad on the country roads near our house. I don't find running particularly enjoyable, but it was a nice morning, and the birds were singing, making the run much more pleasant. During our run, I tallied 30 bird species, mostly by song, but a few by sight. My list is attached below. Notable in this list are two state endangered species in Indiana: Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) and Marsh Wren (C. palustris). I heard the Sedge Wren singing from a prairie/old field area a few miles southwest of our property. The Marsh Wren was singing from a cattail marsh along the road at Potato Creek State Park.
The bird photos above were not taken on our run; we took them on our property in the last couple of weeks. From the top, they are: Rock Pigeon (Columba livea), House Wren (Troglodytes aedon), Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum), and American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis).
* Not sure if this was a Baltimore Oriole (Icteris galbula) or an Orchard Oriole (I. spurius). I used to feel confident distinguishing the two by song, but lately I don't feel like I know the difference well enough... time to listen to the bird song CDs again!