Spring's heart beat

     Anna's text came in yesterday afternoon: "I saw a turkey vulture!" My heart leaped.

     By now, if you've been following this blog, you know my  great joy when the first Turkey Vulture is spied. It means spring migration has started. I've been checking my birthday calendar where I keep track of signs of the season, marking a sighting (or sounding) on the date and accumulating data year after year. The earliest Turkey Vulture sighting I've had was February 17 in 2012. So I've been waiting.

     The other bird I've been listening for (usually for me its song precedes the visual) is the Red-winged Blackbird. The best way I can phonetically describe its song is a "bordl-a-dee" coming from the brown puffed cattails of a late winter marsh (the books say it is "conk-a-ree", but that doesn't work for me). Generally, male scouts arrive first to start setting up a territory. My birthday calendar records the first Red-wings arriving on February 26, and that was in 2002.
     Guess what I saw today, in my backyard, on and under the suet? A small flock of Blackbirds, male and female, mixed in with a grackle and some starlings!

    Be still my beating heart: spring is verifiably on its way, winging northward.

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