In the snowbelt region of Central New York the tug of war between winter and spring seems endless. We’re teased with mild weather, encouraged by the appearance of a pair of bluebirds in early April. They investigate nest boxes, sometimes commence with nest building, then disappear when the mild weather gives way to cold rain or snow.
Spring eventually wins the battle of the seasons and successive warm days trigger an explosion of activity. Warm, sunny days foster a sense of urgency and a pressing need to be exploring dozens of natural areas simultaneously. Spring ephemerals like hepatica and red trillium are always on the early spring itinerary.
There were lots of cardinals around in early spring and one in particular chose to defend the house and grounds against all rivals. We did everything imaginable to discourage him, but he tried for weeks to run his own window reflection out of town. Regardless of the vocalist, cardinal, towhee or other songbird, the music of spring is as uplifting as anything the season has to offer.
Backyard habitat management, including supplemental feeding stations, pays dividends during the spring bird migration and leads to many unforgettable observations and photos. Ruby-throated hummingbirds and Baltimore orioles put on quite a show this year. Prior to 2021, I had only seen orioles feeding on things like jelly, oranges and sugar water in magazines and social media posts. Now, I’m a believer!
I devote much of my spare time to the cultivation of wild apple trees on a 30-acre parcel, so apple blossom time is special. In addition to the beauty and promise of fruit, the blossoms attract an array of wildlife species. Songbirds, like this yellow warbler, forage on the blossoms as well as insects visitors.
Dame’s Rocket, an alien wildflower, carpets open places and disturbed sites in late spring and provides the annual introduction to the world of nectaring butterflies. The Tiger swallowtail is often the first to appear.
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” – Aldo Leopold
Photos by NB Hunter; April, May and June, 2021. All rights reserved.