It's just February, but there are signs of an early spring: buds appearing in some of the trees, crocuses emerging from the soil and leaf litter, temperatures climbing into the 60s. Another indication is the increasing frequency of bird songs from a variety of species: Cardinals, Titmice, Robins, and especially the House Finches in our neighborhood. And then there is the visual indicator we noted while bird watching at the Riverlands Conservation Area recently. A White Pelicans cruising for fish in a shallow bay was advertising to anyone who might be interested (especially pelicans of the opposite sex) that it was ready for another season of procreation, proudly displaying the orange knob that develops on its beak during the mating season. Understandably, the ornament falls off when eggs are laid, when it is no longer needed. For such a normally ungainly looking bird, it looked quite pretty on the water with the sun illuminating its colorful bill and the nuptial plumes adorning the back of its head.
Brent Langley is an internationally known artist who enjoys sharing his views on art and nature.