The Birds

Who needs the Weather Channel when you have birds. Just watch them closely and they'll tell you everything you need to know.

Driving home from Edmonton last week, returning from our holiday in Mexico a day late due to the mammoth spring snowstorm that nearly entombed Wood Buffalo, I kept noticing pairs of Canada Geese off on the sides of the road. Mates I suspected, although biology was never my strong suit, they very well might have been two birds of the same persuasion for all I know, but they were most definitely hanging out in pairs. It was as if they were taking a pause, waiting for the weather to improve before heading north.

One pair of Canada Geese after another passed, on the left side then on the right, then another pair on the left. Then I saw what was holding them back, a massive cloud bank containing the storm that had pummeled Wood Buffalo for a full 48 hours. The birds knew to wait.

Apart from the requisite crows, ravens and magpies, it was the redpolls we saw throughout the winter--survivors. They were having their dance in the flower beds long before the true start of spring.

Sitting in the living room, finishing the final pages of The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, a flutter in the garden out front caught my eye--the first robin of the season. The bird songs have changed, suggesting that winter is truly over. The music in the dark, now joyful and optimistic, forecasts brilliant weather ahead and the beginning of the season of renewal.

April 18, 2010 - 189.8 pounds, 28.3% body fat


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