Signs of Spring

It’s beginning to look and feel more and more like spring around here every day. The days are growing longer and temperatures are beginning to warm. Much of the snow at lower elevations has melted and the valley is showing signs that it is about to transform from one season to the next. All of our rivers and streams have become ice-free and some of the lakes are starting to open now, too. Ducks, Canada geese, and other migratory waterfowl have returned from their southern winter retreats, and are searching for suitable nesting sites. It’s been two weeks since I saw a flock of mountain bluebirds in Crowsnest Pass. You know spring is knocking at the door when these colorful birds make their appearance in this part of the province.

Male bluebirds usually arrive first, sometimes a week or more ahead of the females. There were about a dozen male birds in the flock I encountered a couple of weeks ago. Their brilliant sky-blue feathers glistened in the sun as they flew from one patch of open ground to another, searching for a meal. Female bluebirds have finally arrived and are busy looking for worthy mates. On Monday I noticed a pair of bluebirds along a local backroad. There were a number of bluebird boxes in the vicinity, so I’m sure they were house hunting.

I monitor several bluebird houses that I have set up in and around the Pass. Deep snow prevented me from reaching them until a few days ago. I had removed the old nesting material last autumn but wanted to check and make sure the boxes were clean and ready for this season. Everything is in good order, so hopefully, we’ll have some new tenants shortly.

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  1. Kurt Lindberg April 10, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    I saw a few down around Burmis the other day too…a wonderful sight and a true sign that spring is underway. Enjoyed your post about these brilliantly colored bird!

    • Vic Bergman April 10, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

      Hi Kurt,
      Glad you liked the last post. I was at Burmis Lake this morning taking photos. There was a pair of bluebirds on one of the houses by the parking lot. Also saw some prairie crocuses blooming on the ridge overlooking the lake. Another sign that spring is here. I hope you caught some fish while you were there. The river looked great this morning!

      • Kurt Lindberg April 12, 2017 at 7:16 am #

        Yes we caught a few but it was slow fishing that day; great to be out and on the water nonetheless. I saw one crocus as well…always nice to see those poking up through the grass!

        • Vic Bergman April 12, 2017 at 9:39 am #

          That’s spring fishing, I guess. The trout are more cooperative some days than others. It’s nice just to be on the water this time of year. Not as many people around, either.

  2. Linder Armitage April 5, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

    We should get our BB boxes ready for the bluebirds to nest in before the swallows return to invade the boxes.

    • Vic Bergman April 6, 2017 at 11:17 am #

      Hi Linder,
      You’re right! Those pesky tree swallows can be very persistent and aggressive, when it comes to claiming a bluebird house. If there’s a box they like, they usually claim it, even if a pair of bluebirds have already set eyes on it. I haven’t seen any swallows in Crowsnest Pass yet, but maybe you have already spotted them snooping around the boxes at your place. I suspect they will show up here any day now. I saw more bluebirds this morning at Burmis Lake, while checking the river. Some turkeys, too. Thanks for commenting!

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