In a recent issue of The Indy, I said that my favorite thing about spring is redbuds. I lied: My favorite thing is the return of birdsong.
Almost 20 years ago, we moved from Amesville to a wooded property on a Canaan Township ridge top. Since then, I’ve reveled in the abundance of wildlife, such as the red foxes who return to my neighbor’s barn every year to raise a litter of kits. Wild turkeys parade across the yard from our woods to those across the road and their gobbles rise from the hollows. I even love the turkey vultures who perch on our treetops before soaring away over the valley.
Most of all, though, I love the sounds of birds. I’m not super-adept at identifying calls, but I know that wood thrushes sound like piccolos. Cardinals shoot ray guns — “pew-pew-pew” — and bronze-headed cowbirds recall R2D2. Eastern towhees nag “drink your teeeaaa” and barred owls ask “who-who-who cooks for you?”
It’s not just the sounds, either. I love the movement birds bring to the yard — the swooping flights of goldfinches, the aerial acrobatics of hummingbirds vying for feeder supremacy. And the colors! I know it’s spring when the cardinals turn bright red and goldfinches become sunshine-yellow. Every once in a while, we’re treated to the deep orange of Baltimore orioles and flashes of cerise on rose-breasted grosbeaks.
Redbuds’ glory is fleeting, but the sensory smorgasbord birds offer lasts for months. All too soon, though, the seasons will change and the woods will once again fall silent … until another spring.
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