We heard the first group long before we could see them. Almost as small as long-distance airliners, the Sandhill crane call is distinct, clear. The kids and I are craning our necks, looking for the group of birds heading north for the summer months.
This week, the girls asked why they were going to bed while it was still light out. The first time this year when it's been light enough to look at books in bed without a flashlight. We look forward to the nights where we can fall asleep and wake up to the light in the windows.
Spring teases us here. Glimpses of green grass and blue skies here and there. Sometimes they're swept under a late snow shower or heavy frost. But we know the sunlight is coming back.
"When will the hummingbirds come back?"
We practice our bird calls outside. We're all rusty from a winter spent indoors, faintly hoping some winter holdovers will visit our bird feeder in the front yard from time to time. Even if we can see them, we can't hear their songs. Sometimes we practice with an app, but they know it isn't the same as listening outside, picking calls from among the noise.
The flock wheels around, calling to one another. This one is smaller...maybe 30 or 35 individuals. When they're gone, we go back to raking and tending the fire, listening for sounds of the next flock to float down.