They'd been arriving in dribs and drabs for about a week, the birds. A vanguard of brave water birds, clustered in ditch puddles; bald eagles, northern harriers and owls perched high in the spruce trees, surveying the land for signs of prey; the odd seagull, looking a little lost sailing over the frozen rivers. I imagine these first birds sending confused envoys a few hundred kilometers south, not sure what to tell their waiting friends.
Then, on May 10th, an explosion of song! That morning we had a large mixed flock of sparrows in our yard: white-crowned sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, chipping sparrows, lapland longspurs and fox sparrows. I spotted a warbler I couldn't identify, and heard robins broadcasting themselves from the tree tops. A confused sandpiper touched down in our yard for a brief moment, just as surprised as I was.
I love waking to bird song each morning. Such a gift!