March: Sandhill Cranes, Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds Return

Cherie and I love to feed and watch birds.  The migration of the various species that come to Michigan (or pass through on their way north) gives us sadness in the fall, but great hope in the spring.  With the advent of birds, comes the promise that winter is now past and summer and it’s long days and lazy evenings is coming.

We watch for three species in March: Sandhill cranes, robins, and red-winged blackbirds.  Sandhill cranes are usually the first, sometimes they even arrive in the last week of February, although this year they were late because February was so freezing cold.  They didn’t show up until halfway through March! Cranes are large and have a funny, ungainly flight in which their wings almost pause on the down stroke.  They like to hang out and dig for grubs and things in the middle of plowed farm fields.  Since we live in farm country we see a lot of them all summer.

Next come Robins and red-wing blackbirds. Both usually show up around the middle of March, but Robins are normally the first of the two.  How they survive the freezing cold nights in March is a mystery to me.  We will often see red-winged blackbirds at our feeders in March and April, but once things start growing, we rarely see them at the feeder again.  It’s the male red-wings that show up in March, the (smarter) females don’t show up until April, when the males have established their territories so they can attract a female.

I’m glad God created birds and the ebb and flow of migration marking the passing of seasons is one that we watch carefully and anticipate eagerly (at least in the spring!).  Birds remind me of this eloquent comment by Jesus:

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26, ESV)

True story.  You won’t find birds sowing or reaping or gathering things into barns.  They go about their business as if food will be sufficient no matter where they are.  We perhaps ought to learn from their example.

 

sandhill crane

 

 

 

 

 

 

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