Bill Marchel: Love is in the air
For birds, spring is a time of renewal. The males of most species will sing and display for prospective mates, and at the same time compete with other males for breeding territory.
BRAINERD — According to the calendar, spring arrived almost three weeks ago. Obviously, Old Man Winter does not honor the calendar. He has relentlessly unleashed January-like storms and cold, with barely a hint of spring.
Cheer up. Warm, sunny days are in the near forecast.
For birds, spring is a time of renewal. The males of most species will sing and display for prospective mates, and at the same time compete with other males for breeding territory. Later, females will build nests (in some species the male will help), lay eggs and ultimately raise a family.
What better implies the arrival of spring than the lusty gobble of mature tom turkey as he struts among the oaks? He is both an audio and visual delight to us, and apparently to hen turkeys, too.
One of my favorite courtship rituals is the drumming of male ruffed grouse, their booming thump, thump, thump resonating from among the aspens.
Let’s not forget the amazing “sky dance” performed by male woodcock. The show begins about 20 minutes after sunset, when the light is apparently most dreamy to woodcock.
Step outside and listen. Mallards quack, sandhill cranes bellow, mourning doves coo, and robins warble.
It is spring and among birds, love is in the air.
BILL MARCHEL is a wildlife and outdoors photographer and writer whose work appears in many regional and national publications as well as the Brainerd Dispatch. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can visit his website at BillMARCHEL.com.