Early Spring Arrival? The Redwing Flashes His Epaulets at Me

I think I’ve witnessed an early Spring arrival. I’ll check with Ray, the Bird Man, but until then I’ll go with this assumption. (I’ve been trying see what birds to expect and when. I stumbled on this website and will keep track of how helpful it might be.http://www.birdnature.com/timetable.html.) Here’s a thumbnail on the early arrival as I see it.

My first sighting was during my daily walk to see what I could see. Only twice this winter have I seen horned larks and snow buntings on my neighbor farmer’s field. Each time it was right after he layered the corn stubble with manure. I walk up there nevertheless just in case.  What I saw today were Redwing Blackbirds in a flock of about twelve, all males. Here’s the scene. I stand, an admiring audience of one and clap as they arise up from what I call the Snow Bunting-Horned Lark field, circle and wheel, flash their epaulets at me, and  fly into the nearest tree. And burst into song! I’m also spying them in my backyard where they swoop down, alight on the same tree, and point their heads into the wind. They fly and sing as if in another life they were members of a high school marching band. That is, they fly with precision–almost precision–and sing full-throat with more than a hint of wild mayhem to come.

This site has some marvelous information about my redwings: http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/red-winged_blackbird.htm

Red-winged Blackbird Warning Call

Red-winged Blackbird Song

Red-winged Blackbird Flock

Red-winged Blackbird

Patty 3/1/11

Put a Poem in Your Pocket: This is a Poem I Have Facing Me in My Study Everyday As I Begin to Write


A House of Readers

At 9:42 on this May morning

the children’s rooms are concentrating too.

Like a tendril growing toward the sun, Ruth

moves her book into a wedge of light

that settled on the floor like a butterfly.

She turns a page.

Fred is immersed in magic, cool

as a Black Angus belly-deep in a farm pond.


The only sounds: pages turning softly.

This is the quietness

of bottomland where you can hear only the young corn

growing, where a little breeze stirs the blades

and then breathes in again.

I mark my place.

I listen like a farmer in the rows.

-Jim Wayne Miller