The turkey vultures and killdeers arrived weeks ago.
The Canada goose already is on her nest on the island in the pond.
Song sparrows have been singing cheerily for days.

Waterfowl – ducks, geese, pelicans, coots – are funneling north along the Mississippi.

Pelicans galore

Many goldfinches have turned mostly gold again, shedding their drab-green winter plumage.

Getting golder

So what’s with the record cold and several inches of snow when we’re more than a week into April?

This morning, a trio of bewildered buzzards soared over a landscape turned white from last night’s snow squalls, perhaps wondering, “What’s for breakfast?”

A flock of a dozen plucky robins gathered under the bird feeder, poking in the sunflower seed hulls for leftover tidbits, or perhaps insects or worms attracted to the spilled seeds.


In the garden, brave, red-and-green sprouts of rhubarb poked through the snow, risking frostbite.

But the mourning doves – perhaps used to the chill from their wintery visits a few months ago – still sing their plaintive “coo-coo-coo.”

Mourning dove

Nothing plaintive about the turkeys, though. They’ve been strutting and gobbling for almost a month – and they keep up their courtship antics even as the snow flies.

Hardy cardinal

Likewise, the cardinal tries to brighten the day with his optimistic “Cheer, cheer, cheer.)

The deer still have their winter coats, so the snow and cold shouldn’t bother them. But snow cover probably makes them a bit more wary, with the realization that their grey-brown hair doesn’t camouflage them nearly so well when their woodland home turns white.

Adaptable deer

OK, OK. So we live in Iowa, is the standard mantra from friends we meet in town. Just wait an hour or two and the weather will change.

The TV meteorologist predicts 70 degrees before week’s end.
But he ruefully mentions the distinct possibility of more cold and snow before the month is out! Ah, APRIL!

Hooded merganser
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