By Vincent T. Davis, Staff Writer
January 9, 2018 Updated: January 9, 2018 9:17pm
Joel Williams, a casual bird watcher, settles in at Warbler Woods Bird Sanctuary, off Old Wiederstein Road in Cibolo, where fluttering wings and chirping are the only sounds heard in the early part of the day.
He usually enjoys peace of mind out here, but this morning he’s about to start a nationwide hubbub.
He’d come to see the Harris’ Sparrow on the 124-acre property owned by Susan and Don Schaelzler and Margie Bonnes. He sat on a wooden bench in the Old Barn blind and raised his binoculars to watch flurries of birds scaring up insects and pecking at seeds along a leaf-scattered path.
As Williams snapped photos, he suddenly glimpsed a bird he’d never seen before — a sparrow with golden feathers on its head.
He had a little trouble identifying the sparrow because it wasn’t a Texas bird. With the help of his bird book, he discovered it was a Golden-crowned Sparrow that belongs more than 1,000 miles away on the West Coast.
He posted his find on Twitter and tagged owner Susan Schaelzler, who sent out an eBird Alert on Dec. 11 for the unusual bird sighting. The next morning, 30 people were waiting outside of the sanctuary gate to see the bird.