Spring has sprung

Bing. Bong. Spring has finally sprung. As I settled down to start this article halfway through my morning on April 9, my computer indicated it was willing to regurgitate the contents of a triple list of emails.

The first was from my son’s wife, letting me know that she was now able to raise my articles since I switched to Office Word. And she also commented that the Mennonites had returned, now that the weather had straightened out, to replace the siding on the east end of the barn and to make new doors for the stable. This pleases me greatly ’cause they will be out of there long before the barn and cliff swallows come to reclaim their nesting locations on the large, rustic sleepers of the stable.

The second was a big, broad thank you from a four-year-ago exchange student, hailing from down Windsor way, with whom I had the pleasure of working, and who had asked if she could forward my name as a reference on a summer job application. I must have pointed out all that was necessary when they called, for she got the thumbs-up to a summer job as a “canoe tripper” in the Algonquin Park/ French River area. This is an ideal job for her as she is definitely an outdoor environment-friendly type. I can assure you there will be no garbage left behind on the trips that she is commandeering.

The third was a definite signature sign in my mind that spring has certainly arrived, and it was from a dedicated longtime reader who let me know that the osprey had returned to the nesting site on Highway 24 at Guelph Lake, just north of the city.

I onetime thought it was the crow that heralded the coming of spring, as the first usually showed up during the first week of March. But that is not now so, as the cornfields, as well as the roadkill on our busy highways, offer a food source not previously available, allowing them to stay around all winter.

The robin’s song was next in line to welcome the coming of spring, and last year’s crab apple crop and the odd juicy worm seem to satisfy their need for lunch.

In addition, I always get a number of phone calls about them repeatedly smacking into someone’s window. If it is a female robin that does this, it is because she is looking for an undercover nesting place away from the crows since they mercilessly preditorize their eggs and young. If it is a male, he is trying to hold claim to his territory and tries in vain to drive away the infringing reflection that he sees in the window. 

The bluebird was my third choice of spring’s arrival, for I often get calls of their sighting as they search for last year’s freeze-dried fruit crop and new nesting places that no longer exist in sufficient numbers.

But that, too, has fallen to second place as we more often than not get a two- or three-day snowstorm after their arrival.

However, the osprey’s return is now my signature sign that spring has returned to stay, as their food source is fish, and their return tells me that the rivers and lakes have returned to open water.

Good news, too, their absence reminiscent of the coal mine canary, is the fact the bald eagle has returned to the Grand River area, and nests were reported and monitored in five locations last year.

These are all good signs that we are gradually making a difference in our efforts while cleaning up our environment. But don’t rest assured, as there is much more to be done yet.

Take care, ’cause we care.





Barrie Hopkins