By Mary Reid Barrow
Something changed this weekend.
Though the nights are really cold and the days, still chlly, the sun feels warm.
Somehow, you can just tell this weekend that spring is on its way. And people and nature are responding.
Trista Imrich snapped this photo of a pair of bluebirds checking out a nest hole in a dead red oak tree that she has maintained as a habitat for wildlife in her front yard.
The bluebirds affirmed that not only spring was on its way but also affirmed Trista’s reason for leaving a dead tree standing. In nature nothing goes to waste and a dead tree continues to offer food and nesting spots for animals, birds and insects.
Trista’s tree died several years ago, perhaps from an earlier lightning strike. She hired an arborist to prune back the branches for safety which left her with the bare bones of a tree.
In case her neighbors wondered about a dead tree in the front yard, Imrich has a little sign on those bare bones designating it as a “Habitat Tree.”
In the meantime this weekend the bluebirds are not to be outdone. A lone dandelion appeared in my neighbor’s yard, daring winter not to return.
Buds are showing tinges of pink on my blueberries; one stalwart daffodil is blooming among the still unkempt winter stems and one wood poppy decided to bloom and fight off the chickweed.
A mockingbird is staking out its nest tree on the Feeder Road. A beautiful black and brown male towhee was “tow-hee-ing” its head off, as it called for a mate from my neighbor’s gate.
Every morning the chorus of songbirds singing out to one another gets louder and louder.
This weekend I moved from the spot where I ate breakfast all winter, because the morning sun is rising so high, it is getting in my eyes.
And people everywhere are feeling the effects at this weekend’s sneak peek at spring. They are out in force on the Feeder Road where I live and in First Landing State Park where I walk–couples, families with children, dogs and their owners, all out loving an almost warm sunny day.
And they are not far off. This is a good weekend to practice for spring. Next Sunday, Daylight Savings Time begins and less than a week later on Saturday, spring arrives for real!
Do you have a favorite tree or plant with a story to tell? What relationships have you observed between plants and critters? Who eats whom? Who has babies where? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org