The birds are back. Looking to the skies this week, the CLC team has seen Whistler swans, Snow Geese, Red Wing Blackbirds and Killdeer. While Robins were scarce last week, a few have been spied in the past few days. Before you know it, we will be able to hear frogs singing and the crickets will start soon after. And even though Canada Geese have become commonplace, they are still impressive as huge flocks fly overhead on their way north. All signs that Spring has indeed arrived.
With the birds, have come the rains. “Not always lot of fun to work in,” says the guy that works outdoors for a living, “but as I am not made of sugar, I suppose I won’t melt.” No Curt, you won’t. Don’t forget your slicker and rubber boats though.
All that rain, has got the sap flowing in the trees in the Forest City as well. With March Break behind us, many school children have had the chance to see that first-hand and enjoy the sweet treats that the local maples produce. While the process has undergone some changes in the last few hundred years, from the original labour intensive tapping and collecting of sap from individual trees by hand, to the more modern use of tubing and better heating processes, it doesn’t make the syrupy goodness any less enjoyable. Southern Ontario can be thankful that there are so many Sugar Maples (acer saccarum) around to make us a viable producer of a wonderfully pure maple syrup.
The other perk of all that rain is that the ground is beginning to thaw. This marks the beginning of a very busy period in a tree’s life cycle. Trees draw water and other nutrients from their root system in the ground, up into the rest of the tree. In the early Spring, trees grow new root hairs to soak up all the available moisture and minerals they can. So while you may not be thrilled with the new pond in your back yard, your trees are busy sucking up as much of this life blood as they can handle. They need it for the next phase of growth that is about to burst forth. You guessed it, we are on the brink of flowers and leaves.
With the Spring Equinox just past, all that extra sunshine is also doing its best to continue the trees life cycles. Longer days and stronger sunshine, mixed with warmer temperatures are just the ticket for an explosion of growth in the weeks to come. And while we languored under the impression that our long winter would never end, the evidence abounds that all the returning birds had faith and knew something that we didn’t.
Spring has returned.