Much of North America experienced a rough winter. Record snowfalls and plunging temperatures courtesy of a Polar Vortex that made numerous appearances made it feel like five winters all rolled into one big, bad, cold season.
Yet despite what the groundhog predicted, if you believe in rodents, spring really is just around the corner and if you take the time to observe bird behavior, you will see the signs for yourself.
One day last week while Chris, our office administrator and I were standing outside in below zero temperatures and soaking up the warmth of the morning sun. We heard the unmistakable sound of a Blue jay, which reminds me of a squeaky clothesline pulley, and then watched a small flock of them mobbing a crow in a nearby tree. The jay’s were clearly trying to convince the crow that he wasn’t welcome in their territory.
A sure sign of spring is seeing a crow fly past carrying a stick or twig. A sign that ‘nestorations’ are taking place in preparation of the breeding season.
Depending on the winter, some American robins will stick around for the season, but this past winter, I didn’t see any. On Saturday, as the temperature reached a seemingly balmy 2 degree Celsius, I heard the unmistakable sound of a Robin and then saw a small flock in a nearby crab apple tree, plucking off the dried fruit one-by-one, taking advantage of the bounty until the snow melts and the earthworms migrate to the surface.
Another early arrival is the Red-winged blackbird, and again on Saturday, I heard my first of the year – always a sure sign that weather will be warming so they must return and defend a breeding territory.
Here in southern Ontario, Mourning doves tend to tolerate the winter season. They rarely vocalize during the cold months, however. The male Mourning dove will begin to coo to attract a mate at the first hint of spring.
No matter if you’re an avid birder, or just a casual observer. Take the time to watch and listen to our feathered friends and they’ll assure you that spring really will arrive again – soon.
Have you seen any sure signs of spring? Leave a comment below to let us know!