Signs of Spring

The signs of spring are there.  Admittedly, they’re a little tricky to spot in the world of snow and ice outside …

What the …?

Frozen puddle on this morning’s dog walk.

… but the birds know, in their featherlight bones, that spring is just around the corner. The small birds, finches and song sparrows especially, are  in full mating mode, chasing each other around the garden like daredevil Spitfire pilots.

Song sparrow diving into the season, even if it is covered in snow.

Female house finch and junco share a perch.

Male house finch in rosy finery

Goldfinch feasting on the coral bark maple tree.

A sure sign of spring is the sudden and ominous banging noise that makes me think the furnace is about to blow up …  an annual event which always turns out to be a Northern Flicker hammering on the metal chimney.  The neighbourhood will soon be echoing with the sounds  of amorous male flickers experimenting with different percussive surfaces, checking to see which offers the most impressive volume.

This flicker discovered that hollow aluminium deck railings deliver awesome reverb.

One morning a few days ago we left the house to find our street magically full of robins, singing their song of spring, and feasting on the large holly bush at the end of the street.

A close look at the ornamental plum trees on our street  shows some tightly furled little buds starting to appear.


In the 28 years we’ve lived beside them, the average time for these trees to bloom is the third week of March. They’re looking a wee bit behind schedule at the moment, but some sunshine and warmth in the coming weeks could get them back on track.

I haven’t seen any overt signs of nest building yet, but the crows are arguing along the edges of their territories. All of this squabbling leads me to believe they’re in the early stages of nest site selection.

Eric and Clara vie with Marvin and Mavis for hegemony in the poplars.

Marvin and Mavis view their real estate options from  the Crows Nest vantage point.

Ms. and Mr. Wing stand guard at the entrance to their fiefdom up on William Street.


Garden-wise, the signs of spring are obscure.

I feel a psychic kinship with the frost-fainted snowdrops.

The poor hellebores were breezily blooming in January only to be hastily buried in leaves when February’s snow and freezing weather swept in. They remain hidden, hopefully poIsed for a second act when things finally warm up.

Perhaps because I miss them, and possibly influenced by my convalescent hours with Monty Don, I’ve been playing around with some of my floral images from years gone by to create some new cushion cover designs.

While I dream of waking up to this view again …

… I’m working on some new images to invoke that spring feeling.

Spring Couple

New Growth

It’s difficult to say when Real Spring will finally show up, but Marvin seemed to be consulting a third party this morning.

Tell me, oh All Knowing Bird, when will Spring arrive?

As reliable source of weather information as any.

Perhaps I should ask him some of my financial planning questions …

A sequel to: Waiting For Spring

10 thoughts on “Signs of Spring

  1. Pingback: Waiting for Spring | The Urban Nature Enthusiast

  2. I love this. Down here in Seattle things are similar — but probably a few degrees warmer and maybe a couple of weeks sooner on the “When will Spring arrive” schedule.

    This week I’ve been watching my resident male Anna’s hummingbird do amazing display nosedives. (“Resident” meaning he has claimed my hummingbird feeder as his territory.)
    And suddenly, it seems, there is a symphony-bordering-on-cacophony of birds singing and making noise. After surviving one of the coldest Februarys on record, I guess their pent-up mating energy has erupted.

    (I discovered your blog not too long ago and love reading your writing. I recently sold my house where I’d lived for about 15 years and, like you, had grown to recognize individual crows and patterns of returning birds. And had dogs that I took on walks as you did. But now I’m in a new chapter of my life. And so in addition to just purely liking your writing and photos and the birds, I love being able to still experience some of that previous life vicariously with your blog. Thank you for it. And take good care of yourself and your family through this season of colds and other cruddy viruses.)

    • So glad you’re enjoying the blog and coming along with me (virtually) on the neighbourhood walks. Hoping we’re at the tail end of the seemingly endless cold. It would be nice to be better when spring does finally show up. 🙂

    • Hi Tannis — thanks and glad you liked the post. I really don’t know a lot about birds scientifically — just a little that I’ve read, things I’ve been told by people who are actually bird scientists … and mostly just keeping an eye out whenever I’m outside to see what amazing things our winged neighbours are up too — always something! 😊

  3. Always enjoy your blog, more especially this one as I wish you a return to health and energy!
    ps: love the floral design pillows!

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