Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Siren Songs of Spring

The birds are returning and the frogs have thawed out.

Skeins of sandhill cranes have been flying overhead for almost two weeks.  Sometimes they are so low, you can swear you can see the red of their heads.  Other days all you can hear is their distinctive cry and a scattering of tiny dots moving swiftly between the clouds.  It's one of my favorite sounds of spring and the heart lifts to hear them.  They are huge, graceful, amazing birds and you can hear some of their calls at the International Crane Foundation site.

Now we are treated to bird-loud mornings.  No longer the edged quiet of winter snow and ice.  The weather has warmed and it's quite the avian singles bar out there.  The robins have arrived and are busy scarfing down the neighbors crabapples.  They aren't flying so straight, and I suspect the crabapples have become tinged with apple jack from freezing and thawing.  Nothing says spring like drunken robins on the prowl.

More than birds, though, another signifier of spring are frogs.  The spring peepers and chorus frogs are singing lustily in the wetlands and ephemeral ponds at the Arboretum.  It is one of my spring rituals to hike to as many as possible on a sunny March day and fill my ears with amphibian love. 

Can't you feel the sap rising?

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