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Signs Of Spring Prt. 2

In the first part, I recounted my first encounters with the insect civilization; now I will tell of beings, some of whom eat insects.  I speak of the birds, and though most which I recount here do not include insects in their common diet, they are the harbingers of those who indulge in such fare. Of all the feathered folk, there is one who is the very icon of spring and warmth.  I speak of the American Robin who’s cheerful red breasts brighten the grey spring worn. Strangely enough, I did not behold one until I had seen other migrants less a personification of the season. The first I heard its loon-like cackle was on March 20 of this year, yet I could not find its cheery self. I have nicknamed the robin “The Loon of the Land” because of this crazy, whinnying call, and it was of the utmost frustration not to see the singer. Now and again afterwards, its sound came to my ear while Dark-eyed Juncos began to explore our yard, and the call of Canada Geese was in the air, both birds incoming from their southern wanderings. Finally, many days after, seventeen to be exact, I caught sight of a robin: a cocky male. But imagine: I saw it not in Prince Albert, but in Saskatoon! Will they ever let me glimpse them in this city? Meanwhile and afterwards, I was noting the steady incline in the junco numbers every or every few days. It was a fascinating phenomena to witness one junco turn into two, then three, then finally ten. Almost just as fascinating was the first road trip of spring. I had expected to see only a few birds here and there, but had no suspicion of the wonderful variety and numbers of those I spotted. A flock of Dark-eyed Juncos past before the vehicle, hawks soared overhead ( evidently Buteo hawks because of their fan-shaped tails) and pairs of Canada Geese dabbling in slews and walking gracefully upon the golden fields. But the most surprising species of all was the elegant  pair of American White Pelicans, soaring upon their gigantic black-tipped wings to the earth, and the most eye-catching Mallard keeping a goose company. Rain or shine, flowers or flurries, if these wonderful creatures never returned in the spring, this season would never feel as special for me as it does. Now, I may gaze past the window towards the garden, and amidst the melting patches of snow, behold life and hope in the Dark-eyed Juncos, the Purple Finches and American Goldfinches, and the sole domestic violet which has managed to grow in this uncertain weather and uncertain times. Indeed, these are signs of spring in all its glory.


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Wednesday September 22, 2021