Stars are filling the clear, dark sky on this beautiful spring night. I sit on the back porch, silent, while my ears are soothed by the music of spring peepers rising up from the marshy river bottoms. The croaking rattles of Leopard frogs join their rhythmic peeping. I waited patiently all year for the frog music to return, and now that it is here I listen for a little while each night. Their peaceful songs set my mood for the end of the day.
In the distance, in the dark to the east, I hear faint cries from a flock of migrating swans. Their calls become more intense as the large white birds pass over me in the darkness. I can't see them, but it sounds like there are 40 to 50 in the flock. The Tundra swans, or Whistling swans, pass over south central Wisconsin for about two weeks in the spring. We won't see them again until late fall, when they pass through on their way south again.
A Great Horned owl hoots from his perch deep in the woods across the valley. His mate may be hunting in the next valley, too far away to hear him calling to her. They have a pair of half-grown owlets to feed now, so hunting is a full-time job.
I know that it's warm enough for some flying insects to be out. Just before dark, I saw the season's first Brown bat flitting above the pasture. I know the bats are awake and hungry, but it's too dark to see them now.
Morning brings a greeting song from a Phoebe. He sings his name from the peak of the shed. A pair of these sweet little flycatchers builds a nest every year in the old shed.
A bright blue male Bluebird perches on top of one of the birdhouses in the yard. He greets the day with his cheery song, and then ducks in and out of his new home. It's always extra special to see the bluebirds return—as if they are the very essence of spring. I remember a year when they didn't come back. Hopefully they will never disappear again.
A fat male Robin redbreast sings his happy morning song from the top of the clothesline pole. I think he likes it here, and as soon as he convinces a female robin to join him for the summer, they will get to building a nest here right away. I'll have to watch closely to see where they hide it.
A bold yellow-breasted Meadowlark, sitting atop a fencepost, throws his head back and lets out a loud "tee-you, tee-yair!" to let everyone know he's back. Each day brings a new bird and a new song to add to the chorus of bird music.
It's 70 degrees and sunny today, so I'm opening some windows in the house for the first time this year. It's nice to let the wood stove just burn out for a change. From outside comes the familiar song of a white-throated sparrow—"Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody!" This encourages me to open a window every day, just to catch his happy song.
It seems a shame to have work to do inside when there's so much going on outside. I've got tons of yard and garden work to do though, and I know that soon much of my time will be spent closer to Mother Nature.
It doesn't matter what excuse you use to get outdoors—go be part of Spring!
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