These past several days have been a blessing with lots of firsts to note, including the first day of Spring. Many things have changed over the years of my life, but people's enthusiasm about Spring isn't one of them. Their spirits have risen to where it shows in the smiles on their faces. People who normally would not wave are waving and smiling, and of course there's a lot more to talk about now that Spring is here. No doubt one of the special things about living here in the Kickapoo Valley, is nature is all around us and really rubs Spring into our faces.
Several pairs of bluebirds arrived yesterday and the meadow is alive with the songs of bluebirds. They are so busy as they fly back and forth to a prospective birdhouse. Up and down, and in and out, landing on top, then flying about, all the time singing their little hearts out.
Yesterday was also the first day I heard a phoebe. He's come right back to his favorite perch on the peak of the old shed. Singing his name, he proudly alerts everyone in the yard of his arrival. I hear the beautiful songs of the song sparrows at the edge of the yard. From a sumac branch, he sings his sweet-sweet-sweet song.
The tiny chipping sparrows came back the same day and brought along their chip-rattling songs. What they lack in size, they make up for in voice. It always amazes me how much song cane come from such a small bird. The little house wren is another good example.
As I walked along the creek, a Jack snipe flew up and quickly zig-zagged his way up the creek, and a green bullfrog startled me when he leaped from under my feet and into the creek.
I turned my gaze to the bright blue sky above me when I heard the cooing from a flock of Swans. I was pleased when they passed right over me. They were pretty high in the blue sky, but the sun gleamed off their white feathers, making them stand out like sore thumbs.
Early in the morning, you can hear the courtship calls of the Sandhill cranes all up and down the river valley. Even the people in these small river towns are treated to Sandhill crane music every day. This morning I watched a pair of cranes doing their famous Spring mating dance. They face each other and leap high into the air with their great wings spread wide. They call out to each other just before mating. Their loud, bugling calls have become one of the most talked about signs of Spring by folks in the area.
I haven't heard any Spring peepers yet, but a couple of days of rain are forecast to begin this week. That could be just the thing to bring these tiny tree frogs out of hiding.
The wood ducks are feeling the season, as two male ducks follow a single female wherever she goes. Soon she will be checking trees for a possible nesting site. She may check every tree for miles, and the two males will follow her to each one.
The Kestrels too are beginning to think about romance, and like the Wood ducks, will nest in a hollow tree. Either of these birds will use a nesting box if it's to their liking.
The geese have paired and are finding nesting places in the marsh. Sometimes the top of a muskrat house makes a good platform for the down-filled nest. The goose is probably already laying a clutch of 6 to 8 eggs. She'll lay an egg each day, but won't start to incubate them until the last egg is laid. This way they all hatch at once. Before then, she spends her time close to the gander.
These are just a few of the exciting new spring sounds that can be heard in a single day. If you listen, you can also be a part of this great new beginning. It's time we all join and begin a new path for the new season.
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