Suddenly, in the past week, robins have been very active. Flocks of migrating birds are beginning to arrive from the south, and the ones that remain here all year are gathering in flocks to feed on the remaining berries. I hope they can find enough food–robins are ground feeders, and the ground is still mostly covered with snow in this area. Regardless, I am very happy to see and hear them. For more information about the robin’s life cycle and habits, go to the Cornell Lab or Ornithology and the American Robin Journey North websites. The photo above is from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology website (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/american_robin/id).
I’m also hearing the oo-OO-oo call of mourning doves lately. This is most likely a preview of mating behavior.
Also in the past few days, when the temperature has finally been a few degrees above freezing, the snow is starting to melt around the bases of large trees.
This happens because the dark bark absorbs heat energy and reflects it back onto the snow, melting it. I’ve been looking for this phenomenon throughout this cold, snowy winter, but I’m only seeing it now, probably because only now is the air temperature high enough for melting to occur.
What signs of spring are you noticing?