Feb 6, 2019 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, February 2019

The Hopeful Season

Crocuses bloom in a spring flower bed. Photo by photos.com.
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Is it too early to wish you a happy spring? I've been a spring anticipator my whole life. It's not that I dislike winter, but, if winter were optional, I'd probably ask for a no-thank-you helping—just enough to taste it. But spring! Oh, give me kite-flying winds and light-blue skies and soggy new, green grass, and daffodils all year long. Plus there's the anticipation of our returning bird friends. Yes, spring is the hopeful season, the season of renewal. Our gardens and lawns emerge from their long winter's nap, our trees begin swelling in their budding extremities, and our first bird songs are dancing across the warming daytime air.

Of course, there are the reminders of the season just past: the piles of seed hulls, the bird-dropping-covered deck railings and feeder poles. The nest boxes that need to be cleaned out and repaired. And let's not forget the smelly gunk that has collected in the bottom of the tube feeder. What better chance is there to deal with these backyard tasks than a sunny day in early spring?

I've been eagerly anticipating spring as a bird watcher for more than 45 years now. And spring's arrival gets a little sweeter every year.

Happy spring!

Bill Thompson, III
WBB Team Captain



About Bill Thompson, III

Bill Thompson, III, was the team captain for Watching Backyard Birds from its inception 23 years ago through his death on March 25, 2019. So much of what he wrote is timeless and remains informative, helpful, and inspiring.


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  • I am excited to have my daughter’s tree this year, since my landlord has removed the lovely yew next to my patio, which was the only shelter for birds at my feeder.
    by pmalcpoet, Mon, 20 Dec 2021
  • Goldfinches will continue as long as Swiss chard is available. I'm watching one eating chard right now (mid-November in Vermont).
    by Brian Tremback, Sun, 14 Nov 2021
  • Birds are on the decline though sunflowers are rarely touched and for weeks hardly .eaten. I'll try a few sparing nuts on the table and a fat ball broken for jackdaws and tits but mealworms were a summer favourite being my go to choice
    by Paul Harabaras, Thu, 04 Nov 2021
  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021