Spring watch

A warm winter like the one we’ve been having can give the illusion that spring is just around the corner. Swelling red buds on the maple trees in the courtyard across from our apartment don’t indicate that spring is coming, they indicate that the winter has been warm.

Yet it’s about this time of year when you first start hearing bird songs, the first really reliable indicator of spring. A couple of Northern Cardinals have been wintering over in some evergreens on the road to Fort Phoenix. All winter long, when I walk past them I hear them giving their call note: chip, chip, chip. But today when we were walking home from Fort Phoenix, I heard their song for the first time this year: cheer, cheer, cheer.