Moments of Spring

The arrival of spring is more than just days on a calendar, if you look a little farther outside. After half a decade of journalling weather patterns, harvests, first animal sightings since the fall and more, I have come to appreciate the little moments of spring.

It’s the gentle drumming on a fallen tree; a forest concert starring the proud ruffed grouse as he puts on his best performance in an attempt to impress potential partners; the honking of the first few Canadian geese, making their way to patches of snow-free grain fields and unfrozen shorelines; and trilling red wing blackbirds, showing up for a fleeting amount of time before taking off to marshier climes.

Canadian geese. Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.

Birds are out in full force this time of year, big and small. My very favourite sign of spring, though, is two breeding pairs of woodpeckers that make their temporary home in a slowly dying poplar in the front yard. Each year I eagerly await their arrival, one pair downy and the other hairy. The occasional pileated passes through, but the smaller woodpeckers that come for the breeding season are a sure sign that spring is here.

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Grouse. Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.

Each morning walk is dotted with critter tracks in the snow and mud: coyotes, foxes, deer and moose. The first bear tracks alert us that spring has sprung, although there is always one ill-prepared bear who awakens from his winter slumber several weeks too early that may lure us into a false sense of spring.

Bear tracks. Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.

Ant colonies start stirring on warm afternoons before retreating to the warmth of their pile as the temperatures still plummet below zero. It won’t take long before they start venturing farther away, packing down mini highways across the yard. The odd butterfly will start to flutter by, skipping its way along a soft spring breeze.

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I encourage you to take a step outside and take in the little moments of spring while you can – because if you blink, you just might miss them for the year.