Of Robins and Sandhill Cranes
So we had a bit of a reprieve from the super-deep freeze known as winter(the Polar Vortexes) in the Greater Bippus Area. Three days (in a row!) where the mercury rose above the freezing point of water. Rain, thunderstorms and high wind combined with the frozen soil to cause surface flooding. Field flooding- where the wind pushes water out of a field and over and across the roads that cross the rural areas.
So naturally, Uncle Milton was out back walking and looking, wondering why some parts of some fields are snow free while others are drifted to depths higher than the top of his rubber boots. Why some snow would support his weight, and other snow, usually the really deep stuff, let him sink right in. And the wildlife. And in one snow cleared area were some larger songbirds, who traveled – HOP,HOP, HOP,PAUSE across the exposed soil, HOP,HOP,HOP,PAUSE then a peck at the ground. As he moved in closer, faintly, as he had left his glasses in the house, faintly he spied the orange-ish breast of the robin. Actually a flock of robins. Seven that he could count in the clear although he suspects there may have been more.
What a treat THAT was clearly a month before the official arrival of spring to see robins out back, doing their thing.
On the walk back in the outdoor poultry, geese and a duck, signaled that they would appreciate some snack time attention, and having some shell corn in his pocket, Milton went to them and opened the gate. The geese were so happy that they rushed him! HONK, HONK, HONKETY HONK! Milton doled out the shell corn, a few pieces at a time; leading the geese out of the pen and onto the snow free area where winter grass showed through.
Now it is important to know that the geese and duck have had a had time of it this winter. They have not had a swim for a long, long time, and the snow drifts in their world have been tremendous. But they did seem to enjoy getting a little bit of green after such a long time with only store-bought food. So they took advantage of their freedom and the break in the weather, and grazed a little.
About this time, Ole Milton heard a familiar, yet unusual call (like above) from the sky to the west. Hearing it, but not really believing it, he looked up to see a small flock of Sandhill Cranes flying north. They announced themselves properly- signalling as they proceeded- and Milton ran to get Wifey, so she could share in the unusual early spotting. Of course by the time Wifey got to the scene, she could neither see nor hear the cranes, although Milton did his best to point out the movement of the flock, a mile or more to the north.
Milton and Missus Milton both wished them well, knowing that they may have a hard time of getting food. And a couple hours later the snow began to fall again. Being that both robins and sandhills feed on critters that live under the surface, we hope that they know what they’re doing. Or maybe their weather forecasting is better than ours.