Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Unspring at Fieldhaven

The birds have been lively all day here.  I've heard them singing.  I looked outside, and some are rutting and trying to begin nestbuilding.  This is weeks early.  I went outside -- it's 60 degrees today.  Now that's not unheard of; we've traditionally gotten a thaw in January or February.  But this doesn't smell  like a thaw; it smells like spring.  It is not actually spring; we'll get at least one more severe cold snap. 

The poor birds are confused.  I heard a redwing blackbird trilling; they're migrators, and shouldn't be here this soon.  Our robins, I think, have given up on migration altogether.  I've seen them year-round for the last two or three years.  Also they are appearing at my birdfeeders, which is bizarre, as robins are primarily insectivores.  The first several times I saw them, I checked my birdseed for moths.  The Canada geese just kind of flew back and forth this year.  I don't think they've ever disappeared for more than a few weeks, and the flight directions were not consistent either.  Today I can hear a massive flock of them barking from the meltwater pool in a nearby field.

The bulbs are behaving normally so far, this year: nothing visible above the mulch yet, and the barest tips of daffodils peeking through the soil under the mulch.  If they hold steady, I'll start uncovering the bulb beds at the end of February or beginning of March, and they'll take their chances as always with the wild spring weather.  I was tempted to do yardwork even today, and there's very little appropriate at this time.  My brain can say to my instincts, "Those are misleading signals; ignore them.  It is still winter."  Other lifeforms are not always that lucky.

As the perturbations of weather add up to shifting climate, so too the effects on wildlife behavior add up.  It is strange to be living in the same location where I grew up ... when it's not really the same place.  The timing is different, some of the plants and animals are different.  I'm surprised how significant a shift from Zone 5b to Zone 6a is.  I feel it in the earth.  I smell it in the air.
Tags: environment, gardening, illinois, personal, wildlife
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