The first signs of spring in the far North are not green shoots peeping through on their way to becoming tulips or daffodils. Nor are they the green buds of new leaves popping out on the long-barren trees. Nope. We await the first calls of what we have come to know as the ‘annoying* bird of spring’.
When we lived in Moscow, some time in late February as the days grew noticeably longer and the sun finally peeped through the clouds after months of darkness and persistent snowfall, we would hear the call outside our flat. Our first reaction was invariably, ‘Was it…? Could it be’?! Then, we’d hear it loud and clear and know that all would once again be right in the world and the snow would eventually stop falling. The call was annoying in its repetition. And, annoying because we had no idea what the bloody bird looked like. Try as we might to find the annoying bird of spring upon hearing its signal of hope, we failed.
When we moved to Helsinki and landed our lovely flat in a wooded area with plenty of birds about, we were delighted to discover the call of the annoying bird of spring once again after one of the hardest winters we’d ever endured. It wasn’t so much that winter was colder than Moscow or that there was more snow; it is simply infinitely darker than anything we’d ever thought possible. The sound of our old friend delighted us no end, and told us we had survived. Spring was on its way finally and the darkness would give way to sunshine, green leaves and the long days of summer.
Yet, we still were unable to see the owner of that annoying, yet welcomed call year after year. ‘We hear you’, we would cry to our friend. ‘But, what do you look like?!’
My darling husband in particular has been obsessed with discovering the identity of that great signaler of spring. As his obsession was reaching epic proportions, I heard the most delighted shout, ‘I found it! The annoying bird of spring! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’
Thanks to the a series by the BBC, Lolo’s Secret Life of Birds, and after close to five years, we’ve finally discovered the identity of our fowl, feathered friend.
We give you, the great tit.
The incredible irony is that on any given day, many of these lovely little creatures can be found perched on our very own balcony greedily claiming their treats from our bird feeder. A few days ago, I looked out and there were no less than seven of the cheeky little buggers sat along the railing!
All this time, what we assumed were finches were in actuality our beloved annoying birds of spring! To us, the great tit will always be the annoying bird of spring. And, its song will always bring a smile to our faces. But, its nice to know its true identity.
*NB: We don’t actually think this bird is annoying in any way. In fact, we love this bird and its song in particular.