Chickadees Don’t Lie

My dog and I took a forest walk today. I’m fortunate to live next to a large and wild city park that sports the occasional bear or moose. The black-capped chickadees were singing. Not their signature “chicka-dee-dee-dee” call but their two-toned “phee-bee” song that means spring is coming and I‘m in love.

Okay, romanticism aside, the song most likely has the mixed meaning of the male chickadee saying “stay out of my territory” and “baby, come over here.” But to me, it sounds like spring.

Wait a minute. It’s only the first week in March. In northern Minnesota. It’s still only 25 degrees outside, tops. Plus we just got a bunch of snow dumped on us. And the chickadees started singing this tune at least a couple of weeks ago. Who would want to mate this early? How could spring be coming?

But it is. The amount of daylight we’re receiving feels downright decadent compared to a few weeks ago. The ravens and crows are returning, along with the gulls. My dog is already leaving muddy footprints across the white kitchen linoleum.

Soon the world will become “mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful” (thank you E. E. Cummings). After the snow melts, the landscape will become the color of meatloaf (thank you Barton Sutter).

I know spring is coming because the chickadees said so. And chickadees are honest. Would this feisty panda bear of birds lie about something so important? I don’t think so.


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