Thursday, March 9, 2006

Major Signs of Spring

Thursday, March 9, 2006
Right now, as I sit here in my office at Bird Watcher's Digest, a male is screaming from the roof of this building. He sounds mad and not a little insane. Several other males are screaming, too. There must be several females around. Is this an episode of Cops?

No. It's just the arrival of spring.

The killdeer have returned to our gravel roof and their wild cries and spiraling flights are not ignoreable. The lead-gray skies may seem dreary, but there's a palpable cheer in the kill-dee, kill-dee calls of the male killdeer as they tussle over territory. In June we'll look in the parking lot for the tiny puffballs--baby killdeer, just hours old, having leaped off our roof and floated to a safe landing on the ground. Then can fend for themselves almost right away, but the parents will still keep watch over them. Calling and doing their distraction display whenever one of us accidentally gets too close.

At the feeder today I noticed a male red-winged blackbird and a common grackle--two other very accurate predictors of spring's arrival. Robins? They're with us all winter. But they aren't officially a sign of spring for us until they start singing their evening songs. At our house the robins are often accompanied by the sounds of whiffle bats hitting whiffle balls or basketballs being dribbled on concrete. Kids laughing and shouting, burgers being flipped on the grill...

It's springy enough to be outside. There's a smell of new earth on the evening air. It's light until 6:45! The spring peepers are peeping! And the woodcock males are peenting and twittering and spiraling in the gloaming above our still-brown meadow.

Spring, and the sweet rebirth of everything, is about to burst forth.


On March 10, 2006 at 8:18 AM Rondeau Ric said...

We had a robin signing in the yard this morning, a first for the year.
Grackles and red winged bb are back in vast numbers. They can emptyour feeders in about 2 hours.
No peepers or woodcock yet, but the siege is broken.

On March 11, 2006 at 10:50 PM Gwyn said...

People in my area are reporting woodcock displays, too. I'm still looking myself. Can't wait til I hear the peepers again, though.