Winter in Spring

In winter, eight inches of snow, freezing temperatures and numbing wind chills elicit a “Ho Hum”  from friends at the coffee shop. The same conditions two weeks into the Spring season evoke a full spectrum of responses, from grunts, groans and expletives to happy thoughts (not the majority).

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April snowstorms are unique because the flora and fauna are undergoing seasonal change and the transition to Spring is well under way. This storm crushed Glory of the Snow in full bloom and halted the opening of daffodil buds. Red Maple, aspen, hazelnut and other woody plants were in various stages of bloom and suffered some degree of frost damage. Blackbirds and robins, recent arrivals from southern wintering grounds, lost access to grain fields and worms, respectively. Hundreds of blackbirds appeared at bird feeders – mixed flocks of red-winged blackbirds, starlings, cowbirds and grackles.

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Robins foraged on any bare ground they could find, including spring seeps and plowed areas.

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Earthworms became active during the mild weather and thaw that preceded the storm and the new snow retained some of the warmth. My snow shoveling gave a robin access to a fresh, juicy meal — despite the 15 degree (F) wind chill earlier in the day!

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One of the few woody plants to retain fruit this far into the new year is Staghorn Sumac. It is now feeding several species of birds, especially robins.

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Photos by NB Hunter. April 3 & 4, 2016. © All Rights Reserved.

 

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5 thoughts on “Winter in Spring

    • Ha! You give me too much credit… It has been bitterly cold and they’re just doing what birds do to reduce heat loss and survive – fluffing up for added insulation. As always, thanks for the visit and taking time to comment!

  1. I love seeing those puffed up birds! They’re just remarkable when you think of the energy it must take to keep warm – especially when unexpected winter weather returns. Hopefully, Spring’s warmth and beauty will return soon!

  2. The pup does not look at all pleased. Love your shots of the puffed up robins. Here, it’s like full-blown summer with EVERYTHING in full bloom. If it hadn’t been for the sprinkle of rain this morning I’d certainly call it summer.
    How is Stubby doing through this extension of your winter?

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