Winter has now passed in Maine, though at our place we still have snow here and there, including a respectable snowbank at the end of the driveway.
As a certified bird call fanatic, I listen every spring for the first robin's full song. It was two days ago that I heard it, full volume. But a few days before that, I heard and watched a robin 'practice' the spring call.
It was in the afternoon. I had taken a break from my long hours of desk work, and strolled out to our little farm pond, listening for any signs of the robins' song. And wouldn't you know, a very rotund robin with a bright red breast (perhaps a Canadian robin who wintered down here), sat on the fence rail on the far side of the pond. He or she was all puffed out. The next day we were expecting the last snowfall of the season. I must say I was a little down, wishing for it all to be done and for spring to start.
As I stood still, afraid to frighten it, this little robin started clucking, but at a very quiet volume. The bird seemed like it was practicing all its calls, the warning 'chip chip', some other little cheeps, but very quietly. Then it even started up its full song, but so quiet I could hardly hear it. I kept watching the bird to see if it might be coming from another bird far away, but no. This bird was literally practicing its spring call. Perhaps it, like me, was worried that it would be 'bad luck' to declare it spring just yet. It seemed like it was puffed up with the joy of spring, but was holding it back until the time was right.
This morning, I stepped out near dawn and was overwhelmed with an orchestra of robins in the forests all around. Later, a flock of raucous red-winged blackbirds came through. And the juncoes seem to have left, save a few stragglers. So it's here at last.
Maybe there's a lesson in the practice of spring. Maybe we all need to do it!