The anticipation of spring cannot be felt more than by the movement of birds north through the central flyway. The sound of goose or sandhill crane alone can warm my winter bones. As we drag through this last bit of prairie winter, the subtle shift from dormancy and symbolic death to light and birth begins with the flight of birds on their spring migration.
I think Leopold says it best,
“One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the spring. A cardinal, whistling spring to a thaw but later finding himself mistaken, can retrieve his error by resuming his winter silence. A chipmunk, emerging for a sunbath but finding a blizzard, has only to go back to bed. But a migrating goose, staking two hundred miles of black night on the chance of finding a hole in the lake, has no easy chance for retreat. His arrival carries the conviction of a prophet who has burned his bridges.”
Jamie Bachmann, Wildlife Educator, Northern Prairies Land Trust