Friday, March 8, 2013

Waiting for the Robin's Song

Pomeroy Hall, University of Vermont
Photo credit: UVM
One moment I'm trudging through crusty snow; the next I'm pleasantly overwhelmed by unusual sights and sounds. It's what I love about Vermont: we go along for the ride, and bam, we're cruising into the next season.

Last week two large birds perched atop the circular "fencing" on Pomeroy Hall's spire. Walking with my son home from school, I insisted we stop for a moment to figure out what they were. We shielded our eyes from the sun's glare, trying to get a better view. With broad shoulders, the birds were hawk-like for sure, but only their heads rotated, almost mechanical. Nothing else about them seemed natural. My eleven year old (who has an answer for everything) said, "Mom, they're not real! Don't ya know, it's one of those fake birds!" He meant those contraptions that are posted in berry fields to scare off scavengers. He was anxious to go home. I humored him and gave up the bird-spotting  But still, I thought I'd have noticed these birds before—if they were fake—as we always take the same route home. Sure enough, later the birds were gone. I learned that hawks start their mating ritual in late winter. What I saw were most likely our common red tailed variety.

Mourning Dove. Photo credit: Wikipedia
It's my pattern to blog early morning with a birds-eye view from our bedroom overlooking our neighborhood. I clearly heard mourning doves cooing—though not observed—and mentioned it to my husband, who understands my longstanding nemesis with these birds. Despite their beauty, their call has always bothered me—I can't back to sleep if their sound wakes me too early in the morning. Doves do not winter over in Vermont, as I discovered, so I took it as another harbinger of Spring.

Roosting crows.
Photo credit: Last Word About Nothing
A couple of days ago during my early morning walk with my husband to his bus stop, a crow ruckus descended on downtown Burlington. It was like a scene from Hitchcock's The Birds. Tree silhouettes appeared fully leafed when in fact they were covered with crows. The cacophony was overwhelming, drowning out any other sound. Were the birds directly overhead I would've covered my head; I've seen what their feces can do to sidewalks. This bird riot is a normal pre-nesting ritual, another sign that we're entering Spring.

And so, hallelujah, it's my season to start riding. We set our clocks ahead this weekend. If the weather holds the driveway at work will continue to improve—it's currently clear of snow. I have maintenance tasks to take care of on all my bikes, but they're relatively minor. Some are purely cosmetic. I'll tackle one bike at a time.

This weekend's weather promises to be in the 40s F. That's styling for us northerners still wearing our plaid woolliesindoors. I'll get in a few miles on the bike, building leg muscles, with one ear listening for the robins' song.

1 comment:

  1. Still wearing your woollies indoors...sounds just like us


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