Things are really starting to warm up out there! No so much in terms of temperature -- it was quite cold when I went for a walk this morning in Osbornedale State Park, and there's a good several inches of snow still covering the ground -- but the birds are sending out a pretty clear message: Spring is coming!
Over the past week or so, Song Sparrows and Northern Cardinals have started practicing their springtime songs around my apartment, and these birds were in especially fine form during this morning's walk. I heard sweet sparrow and cardinal calls from all directions pretty much all morning. This cardinal took up a perch high in a tree, where he could beam out his song across the park (and show off his fancy costume!):
And I heard a new (for this year) sound this morning that makes me think of spring even more: The Red-winged Blackbirds have started calling!
It may not look or feel like spring yet outside, but it sure is starting to sound like it!
This morning's walk held several additional delights, too. A tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet flitted around in bare (but bud-covered) branches:
(If I'm not mistaken, those are Spicebush buds swelling up!)
A couple of American Crows found a Red-tailed Hawk in the woods, and chased it off across the sky:
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for the raptors whenever they get mobbed like this. But, well, I guess being a predator has its downsides, and these sorts of encounters do make for some very cool and dramatic scenes:
At one point, a very aggressive mockingbird chased a male Eastern Bluebird right into my path, and I got to have a mini photo shoot while he caught his breath:
We have some very pretty birds around here, and bluebirds are definitely some of the prettiest. With that warm rusty red breast and pure white belly, and those luminous blue wings.... Yes, you are an extremely fetching bird:
And I noticed my new favorite thing about the male bluebird's costume from meeting this fellow up close today: I love, love, love the shade of baby blue on the underside of his tail feathers!
Now that I've gotten my massive snow for the winter, I'm looking forward to more signs of spring to come!