A Note About Spring

10:05 PM

Well here in the Great Toronto Area, Ontario, the snow is finally melting! And today was a beautiful 14 degrees. A few weeks ago we saw our first sign of spring when a Killdeer flew overhead during our Great Backyard Bird Count survey.

While it is not yet officially spring, as far as Mother Nature is concerned spring has arrived. A few days ago I noticed the Red-Winged Blackbirds were back in the marshes around my neighbourhood, and the Canadian Geese have been flying in continuously for the past several days. The geese seem to be paired off and some have even established their nesting sites, the best spots go quickly! Today I saw several firsts of the year; several Grackles, 2 Mourning Doves (the male in full breeding colour) in the garden and the Song Sparrow that calls my backyard home has returned. While the odd Mallard has been around here and there, now that the ice disappearing on the nearby lake Mallards seem to be everywhere.

Today I was also treated to a bird ballet of sorts. Every year American Robins nest on our front porch and while the odd Robin has been in the neighborhood all winter long it seems they have finally woken up from their winter sleep. Two Robins in the backyard today gracefully jumped and danced around atop the last bit of snow with each other in an elegant courtship ballet. Not too far from now we will have nestlings again on the porch.

Its not only the birds returning back to our yards that are a sign of spring, the sounds of spring has returned. The bird calls are now the first thing I hear in the morning. Cardinals, American Goldfinches, American Robins and Red-Winged Blackbirds have all broken into song.

It was only a few short weeks ago that Common Redpolls and House Finches clung to the bird feeders in my backyard, and while there is still lots of activity at the feeders there is a new cast making an appearance. I can't wait until our nesting House Wrens return!

If there are any signs of spring that you would like to tell us about from your neck of the woods, feel free to share!

Happy Birding!

~ Kristen Martyn

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