Hawks Dancing and Other Signs of Spring

I had a brain fog that needed to be cleared, so I glanced at some e-mails, then took a walk. A thick, medium overcast meant that I didn’t need more than the usual hat and long sleeves. As I started off down the block, I heard a loud but unusual bird call, and a dove flew down from the neighbor’s tree. Except doves don’t glide, then soar up like that. And they are not large and brown. And doves most certainly do not go “ka ka ka ka” when they call.

Sharp-shinned hawk. Probably female, based on the size of what crossed the road and settled with graceful ease onto a branch of the neighbor’s tree across the road. When I glanced back to look at it, it took to the air once more and joined a second hawk circling and turning against the grey overcast. I suspect we will have a little hawk soon, and fewer song birds and grackles. (Indeed, the next day a hawk was perched on the bird bath chanting, “here, dovie, dovie, dovie.”)

Some flowers have begun to bloom. Cool-season grasses are going strong, and brown lawns have turned more-or-less green. The roses are starting to put out new leaves, aside from the two that are deader than door-nails. Tulip buds are beginning to swell, and the daffodils and hyacinths are showing forth in purple and white. The wisterias, forsythias, and redbuds are still sleeping. They’ve been burned in the past. Do you move the leaves and other mulch so that the shoots can get sun and air, and to tidy up the place? or do you leave them for insulation, because the last freeze isn’t for three weeks?

Days grow longer. Two minutes per day, the sunrise eases back on the clock. Sunset delays more and more, encouraging after-supper strolls and park activities. The sunny patch in south-facing rooms grows smaller and smaller, to the frustration of Athena T. Cat, who wants her heater back right now. The sun in the morning makes driving due east a hazard, and indeed, we’ve had our annual “pedestrian in the morning dark” accident. Puffy white clouds and spring showers visit, replacing the high, milky skies of winter. It can still freeze, or snow, but the odds grow less and less. Orion has passed the zenith of the sky and has begun to stagger, driven into the western sea by the Scorpion.

I have mixed feelings. I don’t care for spring and summer as much as I do fall and winter. Yet this year, people seem more eager for spring than they were in the past. Is it the odd weather of winter that’s pushing them? It it the growing hope that perhaps we might ease out of the drought and this year will be better? The signs seem to indicate that La Niña is fading and a neutral to damp season might be in the offing. Is it a longing for new life and the promise of a better year? Or just the desire for something that’s different from the cold brown-ness that is winter on the High Plains?

All I do know is that it is spring, and the cat is shedding like a maniac. As usual. Both coats. All over me.



8 thoughts on “Hawks Dancing and Other Signs of Spring

  1. Our local red-shouldered hawks are underway with this behavior. By local, “perch in the windbreak or on the deck railing” local, with enough detail to identify between red-tail and red-shouldered. Patches of feathers are again appearing in the grass, and drifting elsewhere. This to be followed by mice and little bunnies. Time for the cool season planting, and fresh garden peas and greens.

  2. We saw what was probably a sharp-shinned hawk yesterday.

    He was soaring through the blizard. Bird id is hard through waves of snow, but he seemed to be having a good time with the wind currents.

    Total accumalation seems about four-five inches, but it’s hard to judge accurately because of how much wind came with. I think everyone here is going crazy and is hoping for spring.

  3. Tis definitely the season. Here in the PNW it went from comfortable in a flannel shirt to 45 mph gusts and ice pellets yesterday and then back and forth a few more times. Aah Spring!

    • We’re alternating between 75 and 35, with rain when it’s not forecast and no rain when they intone “60% chance.” Tis the season.

      • For SW Missouri they forecast 3-4 inches of rain . . . which we got, along with flash-flood warnings. Fortunately my house is on a ridge.

    • Not the Tennessee Waltz, but maybe a Texas Two-Talon? 🙂

      Oops, carp incoming …

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