Why Birding Helps

Well, winter hit us with a vengeance this week.  Several clippers came through, dropping about 16 inches of snow on us and then a serious deep freeze settled in.  Wednesday and Thursday night both got down to -29 (that’s actual, not wind chill).  I do love weather like this at least for short bursts (I’m not sure, for instance, if I could actually live in Alaska even though the romantic winter-lover in me pretends he could).  Everything is so crisp and the snows whip into marvelous sculptures.  On the other hand, it does take it’s toll.  And that’s where birding comes in.  The more you learn bird songs, the more you can hear the shift in seasons before they actually arrive.  Thursday morning I was walking in to work, bundled up in layer after layer of clothing, walking across the creaking snow in the deep quiet of our small town.  The sun was brilliant but ineffectual.  It was a crystalline cold world.  And there, ringing sharp and brilliant through the cold, were the clear tones of a cardinal’s spring song.  It’s the first spring song I’ve heard, and it seemed so out of place in that context, but the birds don’t lie: no matter how deep the winter, spring is in fact just around the corner.

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