Of Spring Birds, Blooms, and Feelings

I don’t know about you, but this winter seems to have kept its grip on us longer than usual. I realize this feeling is subjective, but my hunch is shared by several friends. Cold, dry, and windy conditions in March and parts of April kept the vegetation mostly brown, and the arrival of migratory birds also seems delayed.

After a few April snow showers and interspersed warm spells, the trees are finally starting to display some green haziness and a few are even sporting blossoms. It was only last week that I saw my first pasque flowers—in some years, I find them weeks earlier.

A pair of resident Prairie Falcons at Garden of the Gods, on the other hand, had spring feelings in the middle of February, when they were putting on a hot show on their bedroom cliffs. Other birds have been singing or are displaying their plumage in an attempt to attract a mate. I saw my first-ever Curve-billed Thrasher nest in a very spiny cactus with three lightly green eggs, which was very exciting. Ospreys have been arriving in the area in numbers and are either commencing to build nests, or are feeding on local fish to help fuel them on their journey elsewhere. And shorebird migration makes me schlepp my spotting scope to various bodies of water in hopes of seeing and studying them closely in my ongoing attempt to improve my weak identification skills.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover your cursor over it.

But no matter my impatience, spring will arrive. As I’m scheduling this post, we are waiting with bated breath for a storm, predicted to bring up to a foot of snow to the mountains and 1 to 1.5 inches of rain to the plains. If followed by warmer temperatures, the moisture will surely give a boost to all those poised on the threshold, unsure if it’s winter still, or spring already.

Also, while writing these lines, a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird alighted on our feeder. He wasn’t the first I heard or saw, but the first who allowed me to take his portrait. If this jewel, who weighs no more than 0.13 oz (3.6 g) and spent his winter somewhere in Mexico, thinks it’s spring, who am I to question him?

Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird in Colorado Springs on April 25

PS: If you live in the area and are looking for things to do this weekend, I would love to see you at Hooked on Books, a local, independent bookstore on 12 E. Bijou Street in downtown Colorado Springs, this Saturday, April 29, from 12-3 PM. I will be signing copies of my book, Places and People of the Pikes Peak Region.

43 thoughts on “Of Spring Birds, Blooms, and Feelings

  1. Wunderschöne Fotos. Mountain Bluebirds sind Glückbringer habe ich mir erzählen lassen. Das Frühlingswetter ist bei uns in diesem Jahr auch inakzeptabel. Nun gut, wir können Regen gebrauchen nach den trockenen Sommern der vergangenen Jahre.
    LG MAren

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dankeschön, liebe Maren, es freut mich, daß dir die Bilder gefallen. Immer wenn ich Moutain (und andere) Bluebirds sehe, bin ich sehr glücklich.
      Der Sturm brachte uns etwa 24 sehr willkomme mm, und das wird der Natur einen schönen Schub verpassen. Ich freu mich drauf.
      Lieben Gruß zurück,


  2. Hello Tanja how are you? I am glad to receive this post. I tough about you this winter. I am having guest from Colorado this summer. They are staying downtown and I will tour them around for a couple of days. I look forward to do it.

    I wish we can see each other and talk in a camera. Do you have messenger or Skype? We can talk more?

    Say hello to Mike as well

    Isabelle Couture 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Auch bei uns kommt der Frühling nur zögernd und das, obwohl wir schon zwei oder drei Sommertage mit Temperaturen weit über zwanzig Grad Celsius gehabt haben. Aber die Natur nimmt sich halt die Zeit, die sie meint zu brauchen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hallo Christa,
      auch hier hatten wir einige überdurchschnittlich warme Tage, und ich denke mir immer, wie verwirrend diese Temperaturextreme für Tiere und Pflanzen sein müssen.
      Bisher hat es der Frühling noch immer geschafft, hoffen wir mal, daß es auch dieses Jahr der Fall sein wird.
      Lieben Gruß,


  4. An early lesson after I got interested in native plants was how different things in a given place on a given date could be compared to the same date and place the previous year. Where a dense colony of wildflowers had flourished, there might be nothing the next year.

    Your use of schlepp qualifies you as an honorary New Yorker.

    Happy book signing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The seasons continue to turn at their own pace. As observers (and being human), we are seldom satisfied. Winter is too long, summer is too hot, autumn color changes just before or after my scheduled vacation and spring is definitely ALWAYS LATE!!

    I really enjoyed all of your splendid photographs. And – they were right on time.

    We hope your book signing is an enjoyable event!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Wally. I try to appreciate every season for what it brings, but spring, my favorite, is definitely always far too long to arrive. 😊
      Thank you for the good wishes for the book signing. I hope a few people will show up.


    • Thank you for the good wishes, Eliza, I hope a few people will show up for the signing.
      Spring is my absolute favorite season, and I always hope for it to start sooner and last longer than it does in actuality. I need to focus on enjoying it as much as I can while it lasts.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful photographs! It’s wonderful to see all these birds getting busy for spring. 🙂 Spring has felt late here too, which makes me even happier to see it arrive.
    Hope your book-signing goes well!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is more than ready for it to be done snowing! I saw the first flowering trees this week… let’s hope spring is finally here to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s good to read that you received some rain; as you said, stirring in a little sunshine should stir some spring into life. I especially enjoyed your photos of the Osprey. Mine has started eating its fish atop its favorite mast again; I’m so pleased that I’m not due to work on that boat for a while. No entrail cleaning for me!

    I just checked your forecast for today. Sunny and 71F makes for an exceedingly pleasant day; the weather should encourage more people to get out and about. I hope plenty of them stop by your book signing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda. We did receive one full inch of rain and things are indeed greening up before our eyes.
      I don’t blame you for not wanting to deal with fish entrails on your boat. Maybe you can get a hose to rinse them off all at once at the end of the season. But that might risk having your boat encrusted in those remains.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, my no! They have to be cleaned off right away, or the heat bakes them onto the fiberglass. Beyond that, the odor isn’t very pleasant! It’s just part of life in a marina: like mulberry stains, also compliments of the birds!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Anita. It’s nice to know that you also get to enjoy pasque flowers. I find them very pretty. The osprey really took a good look at me before deciding that I posed no threat. And I will always go out of my way to try to get photos of these wonderful bluebirds.


  9. Ich komme erst jetzt dazu, dir für den tollen Bericht mit den schönen und informativen Bildern herzlich zu danken. Mir ging es gleich mit den nicht enden wollenden Wintertagen. Liebe Grüsse. Ernst

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey, a mountain bluebird! – as they say, great minds. Mountain plovers and broad-tailed hummers, what a treat. Have yet to see those and just found my first prairie falcon last year. Now you have me all excited to get out and see what I can add to my list.

    Liked by 1 person

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