I've spent a lot of time out in the shop the last few days, the heater is barely having to do its thing. Warm winds, bright sun and right now at 12:30PM CDT, we have 43 degrees. It's 10 long paces from the garage to the house and while on my way in for a sandwich, something on the smallish side caught my eye. I didn't feed the birds this winter and as such, the only feathered creatures that get even reasonably close to the house have been a single woodpecker, the murder of crows and the very occasional eagle soaring high above but still within sight of the river.
This bird was smaller. I stopped on the step and watched through the bare branches, first noticing one and then its mate. There they were, hiding in the branches of the cherry tree. I stayed very still and watched, listened closely and even with the wind, heard their faint calls. Doing my feeble best, I imitated their calls and drew them both to within 10 feet of me where they hid behind what was left of the tiny crabs still in the tree. We talked back and forth a minute or so, then once they established that I had very little of importance to contribute, skedaddled into the ash tree, much further away.
Yesterday afternoon in weather conditions much like today, only a few degrees cooler, I hiked the perimeter of the property. Much of our valley is bare; the north facing slopes of which our buildings hug, are not. I was sloppy yesterday and didn't lace up my boots and was rewarded with wet feet after dealing with drifts still a foot deep though getting very soft.
Our returning blue (and orange) friends obviously saw the same 10 day forecast that I have. Welcome back little ones.