A Musical Interlude

Yesterday morning, the overnight low was 34 degrees F, the warmest in more than a month. On my way to work, in the predawn twilight, I was serenaded by a spring-like chorus, dominated by robins. Northern cardinals, chickadees and Carolina wrens also chimed in and the mellow tune of a mourning dove, the earliest I have ever heard in this region, was an especially welcome sound.

Though more than a foot of snow still covers the landscape, these birds were responding to the lengthening daylight and to the sudden warm interlude. Unlike humans, who consult their calendars and count the days to spring, wild creatures take their cues from nature. They won't nest or migrate until the days are longer but yesterday's tune-up was a sure sign that, despite our winter woes, spring is on the way.

Unfortunately, another blast of Arctic air will hush the singers for the next few days but, in another week or so, the annual tide of birdsong will begin to build. We may worry that this cold, snowy winter will never end but the birds, free of that capacity, know better.