Spring has sprung, the grass has Riz, I wonder where the birdies is?

Winter dies and spring arrives at our Prescott Arizona home at 6000 feet above sea level. Across the barbed wire fence on the 1.5 million-acre Prescott National Forest, sap is rising in every plant and tree. On the forest floor chipmunks are dashing about evidently trying to acquaint themselves with the riches Spring brings. On our southwest porch and around our little pond dozens of chipmunks and one young rabbit small enough to get through the fence barriers, are feasting on tender blades of grass and the plumping buds on garden plants.

A week ago, even on the ground under the birdfeeders, there were no signs of animal life. Today these little creatures own the place. But, where are the birds? We note that some nuthatches have cleaned out last year’s trash and are moving back into their secret places where they will raise families. A covey of Gamble Quail came through the yard and went on to feed elsewhere. Mourning Doves have stopped by the pond to get a drink before flying off to do their thing. A few Acorn Woodpeckers study the feeders from their vantage points on the branches of the ancient Alligator Juniper.

Jo filled the birdfeeders with seeds and a little wire cage with a block of peanut butter suet, but this morning only a few birds have been feeding. What is happening? Has global warming somehow confused our winged friends? Then a shadow passes over the yard, and medium-sized Coopers Hawk lands at the top of our giant 40 feet tall ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ deodar cedar.

The hawk looks around and can’t find breakfast or lunch. Fluffing her feathers she gives up and heads west to find better hunting grounds. In a few minutes life returns to normal and the flying descendants of dinosaurs are feeding again.

Four days ago, Arthur (our thermometer) told me that the outside temperature had reached a high of 66°. A day later it reached a high of 40° and it was snowing hard. Yesterday dawned with enough cloud cover in the East to put on a beautiful sunrise light show. The day warmed a little as the sun smiled down on us, but by noon black and gray threatening clouds let loose with a blizzard that made one think of the end of the world. The storm cut visibility to maybe 50 feet. By 4 o’clock, everything in our world was plastered white with inches of heavy wet snow. Then the sun came out, the sky turned blue, and spring chased away the last vestiges of winter’s might.

We remember past springs when this happened when there was a full moon. There seems to be a relationship between weather and the phase of the moon, like ocean waves these weather waves sweep over us. The spring equinox has notable effect, but it seems like the moon has the power to push winter away and let spring grace the land.

Today the forecast says it will be in the high 60s. It’s time to get outside and be one with the earth and living things again. What a blessing!