Out shoveling snow for the nth time this winter, and hoping it will be the last time, we heard a blue jay calling off in the distance. In recent days we’ve heard cardinals, a red-bellied woodpecker, and even a song sparrow making their presence known. We’ve seen robins and mockingbirds all winter, but so far we have not heard them singing their songs.
It is that time when the sun moves over the equator, marking the beginning of spring in our hemisphere. Overwintering birds will begin to identify potential nesting sites and the males will look to attract mates. Migrants will pass through on their way to points north. Still, it is a bit strange to hear a blue jay squawking when there are four inches of new snow on the ground, or to hear a woodpecker hammering at a tree limb when the temperature is in the single digits.
For a different perspective on the notion of song out of season, I would recommend for your listening pleasure the NPR program “Performance Today,” to which we were listening on a recent weekend morning. The second hour of the program ended with a recording made at the Ojai Music Festival in Ojai, California. Mezzo soprano Christianne Stotijn was singing “Urlicht” from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn.
As she sang, she was joined by finches, one nearby and one or more a short distance away. If you don’t have the time to listen to the entire program, you can advance the slider to 51:30 in the second hour to hear this recording. Mahler’s music is characteristically serious. The birds twitter happily, little concerned about blending with the performance, but the combination is fun to hear.
As this long winter wanes may you have many moments when you hear and see things that make you smile.
Thanks as always for stopping by.