Early signs of spring?

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Sap is dripping from our large silver maple tree (Acer saccharinum) during the day and freezing as icicles on cold nights. I see this as a sign of spring.

4-inch maple sap icicles hanging from tree

During the day, we’ve been surprised to see gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) lapping at the liquid. I was curious enough to try it, and it tasted like water with a slight hint of sweetness.

squirrel lapping at maple sap

I was also surprised to see this small sparrow-like bird that was also interested in the liquid.

yellow-rumped warbler in winter drab plumage I didn’t recognize it until I caught a glimpse of yellow on its rump which helped me identify it as a yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata), sometimes called a ‘butter butt’.

yellow-rumped warbler flying

These birds sometimes winter as far north as Kentucky. However, we seldom see them except in spring or fall as they migrate. They are quite striking and much easier to recognize in their spring and summer plumage. This is a male we saw in the backyard last April.

male yellow-rumped warbler in striking spring plumage

I know we’re not done with winter, but it’s nice to see some early signs of spring.

8 thoughts on “Early signs of spring?”

  1. Send some of that early spring over to Utah, please! Nice pictures. Those birds look completely different to me. Is it that the plumage changes so much with the seasons or that they are male and female?

    1. Keli, good question. There is a difference in their winter plumage compared to their spring and summer plumage. In addition, their plumage is especially subtle their first winter. I’m guessing this is the first winter for the bird we saw last week. Thanks for asking.

  2. Betty, that squirrel photo is so great – maybe this is like a nice dessert for them! And now Harry need to take a photo of you licking the bark!!!

  3. Nice Capture on the Butterbutt Betty! You had to be quick on the click. I like that you were able to show the difference in their seasonal coloring forms. Nature is amazing.

    1. Thanks, Loret. Yes, it helps to be quick on the click. Also helps to take lots of clicks.☺ Interesting that we’ve both been seeing the ‘butterbutt’ in our yards; you in Florida and me in Kentucky. Yes, nature is amazing and I feel quite grateful to “watch the show”.

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