Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6: Hark, the cardinal sings

I stopped by a friend's house this afternoon to drop something off. He happened to be pulling into his driveway just as I was, so we had a conversation right there in the afternoon sun. At one point he hushed me. "You can hear the chickens in the backyard, responding to our voices," he said. I stopped talking, and sure enough, the loud clucking of hens could be heard from the back of his house, where he has a very fancy chicken coop. They obviously just wanted to be included in the conversation.

But as I was listening, I also heard another bird. From a few houses away, the loud whistle of a male cardinal rang out like a car alarm. A sound of spring! Sure, it's supposed to get down to single digit temperatures this weekend, but today this crazy bird thinks spring is here. "Come and get me, ladies," he shouts.

The cardinal's not the only one a little ahead of himself, either. My parents reported seeing a couple of turkey vultures flying over I-95 this morning in southern Maine. Vultures, more than robins, are my favorite predictor of vernality (I think I just made up that word). If they make it this far up the coast soon, I'm going to start packing up my insulated Sorels.

Hens' conversation
and one insistent cardinal--
birds make themselves heard.

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