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Poor Will's Almanack: March 2 - 8, 2021

The day before the early March snowstorm of 2008, the first robins on my street were chirping before dawn, and my neighbor’s yard was full of blooming crocus. I even saw a bumblebee.

Then the following day came a regular northern blizzard, howling winds swirling the snow from the rooftops.

In the middle of it all, the birds - at first mostly sparrows and cardinals and doves - fed heavily at my feeders, almost excitedly in the storm,.

Just before noon, the winds grew even stronger, and then a flock of red-winged blackbirds, males and females, suddenly descended out of the whirling snowflakes. Snatched and driven from their usual roosts or flyways, they found refuge in the shelter of my yard.

For several hours, the sparrows, chickadees and cardinals vied with the newcomers for positions on the seed bell, the suet and the tube feeders.

Then the wind subsided as quickly as it had come. The prophetic redwings vanished, the air was winter cold, and still and the ground lay covered with several inches of new snow.

But I had seen the truth and the light. In the middle of the stormiest day of the year, the signs of spring had continued to appear.

If anything, the surprise appearance of the redwinged blackbirds literally flung into my yard, seemed to accelerate rather than delay the arrival spring, reassuring me that the future was warm and green.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of Early Spring. In the meantime, no matter the weather, take a deep breath and enjoy the future.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.