Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I and the Bird #120: March

Welcome to this week’s edition of I and the Bird. Since the name of my blog, Sand Creek Almanac, is a twist of the title of Aldo Leopold’s classic, A Sand County Almanac, and it is March, let us begin with Leopold’s musings on March:

One swallow does not make the summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring…a migrating goose, staking two hundred miles of black night on the chance of finding a hole in the lake, has no easy chance for retreat. His arrival carries the conviction of a prophet who has burned his bridges.

– Aldo Leopold, essay “March” from A Sand County Almanac, 1949, Oxford University Press

Here in Minnesota, USA, March is a month of limbo. The calendar says winter is over, but we know spring won’t arrive until at least mid April, when our 10,000+ lakes finally emerge from a covering of ice. A warm sunny day is as much a possibility as a blizzard or a cold frosty night. We may peel off a layer or two of clothing, but we don’t pack away the long underwear…yet. (We’re saving it for the first Twins baseball game in their new outdoor ballpark!)

Perhaps it is because I was born on the day of the vernal equinox, but I find March to be the most hopeful month of the year. I listen for the first joyful honking of Canada geese. I eagerly anticipate the first sighting of a male red winged blackbird staking out his marshy territory. Although robins overwinter in some scattered areas, my first March sighting of a robin is a cause for celebration. The pair of sandhill cranes that nest in the shrubby wetland by Sand Creek near my house raucously announce their arrival in the latter part of the month. Just the other night I was thrilled to hear the call of a northern saw-whet owl. The cycle of life continues.

Bird bloggers seem to embody this spirit of March hopefulness year round. Whether they travel great distances to enjoy seeing new species, or delight in the drama in their own back yards, birders are aware and open to the wonder that is always present in life. I am pleased to present another fine collection of bird blogging!

In the Backyard

Jayne has the privilege to see a raptor in her backyard regularly, and she shows how the red shouldered hawk got its name!

Amber's Texas bird lounge took on a wintery look, attracting many visitors!

Another Texan, Kay, shows that if you build it (or fill up your feeders and baths) they will come!

There are two lessons to be learned from The Geek In Question: 1) Sometimes a bird will wait while you run inside to get your camera, and 2) Your mother in law can wait--photos like these are worth it!

March means it's time for spring cleaning, and even Carolina chickadees are getting into the spirit! Thanks Alan!

The Grizzled but still Incorrigible Scribe Himself (perhaps the longest Blogger handle ever) lives and writes by a river in Ohio. He is a newcomer to I and the Bird, and I introduce you to him via his observations of great blue herons fishing-Wow! Can they EAT!

Close to Home

RuthieJ, a fellow Minnesotan who knits, birds, and writes about it at Nature Knitter, takes us on a Sunday drive by the Mississippi River.

JSK had an opportunity to zero in and identify some ring necked ducks on a local river.

Of course, when your home is an RV, everywhere is close to home! Dawn's latest home is in Arizona where she went on a quest for a rare visitor.

And, was anyone in the USA and Canada NOT watching the final Olympic hockey game? Wanderin' Weeta and I were perhaps the only two. She found a great opportunity for an uncrowded beach walk.

Travels with Birders

Aimophila Adventures goes to Kootenai Lake, and the owl he found is way too cute.

Laura escaped this year's brutal New Jersey winter temporarily for sunny Florida.

Carrie went on an owl prowl in Canada, and let me tell you, this is one of those blogging moments when the telling of the tale is as sweet as the destination!

Mike Bergin, while in Ecuador, got up close and personal with some antpittas. What's an antpitta? I've learned so much from hosting this carnival!

The Horned Guan. It's a bird that requires tremendous physical exertion, careful planning, and a lot of luck to see. Nate gave it his best.

Birds in the News

It seems this ivory billed woodpecker thing won't go away, even after five years. Grrlscientist wonders about this "faith based birding", and asks if we shouldn't maybe spend our time and money on birds that are proven to still exist.

We know corvids are intelligent birds, but is there a limit to their problem solving ability? And do the corvids really care? John at A DC Birding Blog reports on the latest research.

Birds Up Close- Photos and observations

What's a shikra? Otherwise known as the little banded goshawk, it is a beautiful bird that looks a lot like the northern goshawk I sometimes see here. Thomas at Nature Magnified, of Karimannoor, India, gives us the details.

I don't think I've ever had a bird give me the evil eye, but it sounds like the yellow eyed junco would do it. BEWARE! Alison of IBIS tells us how to ID this bird of high altitudes.

Pileated woodpeckers. I love 'em. And by my unofficial poll, they are the most-often mentioned species in this IATB edition. Adrian at Voyages Around My Camera gives a good account of these giants of the woodpecker family.

Kestrels are another sign of spring where I live. Thanks to Moe of for showing one in its striking beauty.

I used to listen to Marsh Wrens singing at night at a house I lived in that to a marsh. I never knew they built such elaborate nests! Thank you Larry for the details and photos.

Birds in Dreams

Yes. I do dream about birds sometimes. And sometimes I can't remember if it was a dream or reality. Our dreams reflect aspects of our lives. So what do these dream birds represent?

Birds and Life

Sometimes an everyday walk can provide extraordinary moments. Often birds provide the gateway to those moments. Have I mentioned pileated woodpeckers already? They cannot be mentioned enough. Robin never fails to notice these wonderful moments in nature.

A beautiful tribute to an eagle that stole Vicki's, and no doubt many others' hearts. Fly free, Spirit.

Looking towards the future, a mom writes about birds, feathering the nest, and the little milestones of childhood.

Thanks to all for being out there and sharing it with everyone! Next edition is at Birder's Lounge!


Rurality said...

Great job! Reading that about the "dream birds" made me remember that I had dreamed of ravens last night. (I could suddenly understand all their vocalizations as if they were speaking English!)

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Great job Deb!

Jayne said...

Wonderful job Deb! Lots of fun posts to explore! :c)

Larry said...

Super edition of I And The Bird Deb! I love the poem by Leopold and I am SO jealous that you have a pair of Sandhill Cranes nesting near your house in the spring. I am able to hear them fly over my house as they head back North, a sound that makes me smile whenever I hear it.

I am looking forward to reading all of your submissions.

Delson Roche said...

Wonderful post, so many places to explore. Well written Deb

robin andrea said...

Great job, deb! I know it's a lot of work putting this together. Well done!

amarkonmywall said...

Beautifully done, Deb. Wonderful links to all the great plumage in the blog 'hood. Thanks for your creative effort.

RuthieJ said...

Good Job Deb!

LauraHinNJ said...

Well done!

Joy K. said...

Thank you for putting the hard work into hosting. I'm having a great time wandering through the entries.