By Joanne Niswander
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Waking to another snowy morning (I'm writing this Tuesday, Feb. 16), I am reminded of last week's snow - and the signs of spring that came with it. Signs of spring, you say? In the middle of a mini-blizzard?
Well, if you happened to be at the right place at the right time, you would have seen what I saw. Just outside my window, in the locust tree growing by Maple Crest's ice-covered pond, was a flock of robins.
Yes, robins. In Ohio. In the second week of February.
At least 20 male robin red-breasts had suddenly settled onto the tree's bare branches, fluffed up as fat as quail and facing the winter wind as if to defy the cold blasts. I quickly snatched up my binoculars, thinking I might have been mistaken. But no doubt about it, they were robins.
They didn't stay long. Perhaps no more than three or four minutes elapsed before they all took off for - where? As they sped away, I hoped they would find some sort of shelter to protect them from the elements and an orchard to provide fruit until the insects and worms start moving again.
But robins are hardier than we give them credit for. It really isn't that unusual to find robins outside what we think to be their traditional wintering spots.
We may not hear their songs until spring, but some robins may not be that far away even on the coldest days.
Considering that every state in the US, except Hawaii, had snow just a couple of days ago, and southern Ohio got a ton more snow than we did in Bluffton, maybe the robins know a little more than we give them credit for. Maybe spring is right around the corner.
All we have to do is find the corner.