BOS 03 26 2021 doublesize
The sea gulls started calling about a week ago. Our first winter here on the shore, I realized that they are silent all through the snowy months. They're here right through. They soar over the water. But they don't call to each other the way they do as soon as the snow starts to go, and we move toward spring.

Just before the gulls started speaking, the chickadee songs changed. We still get some of the traditional chick-a-dee-dee-dee, but on a warm day, we are also hearing the music of their mating call. That sound always gives me hope that spring is near.

Just the other day, I heard a red-winged black bird. We don't get those birds down here every year. They loved the swamp at the farm, but we are mostly forest and yards here. Right now, the land is flooded on the other side of the road, however, and some trees have been cut down so that houses can be built. Perhaps these birds will stay here this year, though that will be small compensation for the trees that were lost.

A couple weeks before that, the morning bird songs included a small flock of crows. I have no idea what attracted them to our yard, but they stayed for a couple days. Now they visit once in while, but spend most of their time somewhere else.

This past weekend, a different sound. I looked out and saw a flock of boat-tailed grackles had taken over the feeding stations. Their voices are rather rough sounding, but their flight is graceful and their feathers shine in the sun.

A group of canada geese have joined the ducks that spent the winter here. Their distinct call has added to the sounds out on the water.

One bird we've missed this winter is the blue jays. Not a sign of them here. Perhaps someone else has been more consistent with the bird seed than me. I did hear a couple when out for a walk on the weekend, but still no sight of them here. One year I put out peanuts. I bet that would bring them back.  

We had the sound of waves all winter. With no ice on this part of the bay and lots of wind, there were days of crashing, pounding water on the rocks. Now, the music of falling water comes from all the streams along the road as they bring snow melt off the escarpment and into the bay.

Listening to the morning chorus, enjoying the sound of falling water, I am aware again how silent winter is. Yes, crocuses and snow drops, the hint of green in lilac buds are signs that the season is changing, but the music of returning birds and the way winter songs shift sing to me of spring.

Cathy Hird lives on the traditional territory of the Saugeen Ojibway