Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Signs of Spring: Leaf buds and robin (Turdus migratorius) - Bourgeons et merle d'amérique

A classic harbinger of spring, of course, is the American robin (Turdus migratorius).

This is the first one I've seen this year, spotted in the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery in Montreal on April 25th. T. migratorius is often one of the first migratory birds to return from winter territories.

T. migratorius on a gravestone; note the A. saccharinum blooming in the foreground and the leaf buds on the shrub in the background
Interestingly, this widespread bird is apparently a major carrier of West Nile virus, contributing to the virus' spread across the continent.
T. migratorius
This particular individual didn't seem at all fazed by our presence, and in fact ended up calmly observing us in return.

Leaf bud opening
The leaves are just starting to emerge now. Here are a few photos of leaves beginning to emerge. The species I've seen already opening buds here in Montreal are Acer negundoFraxinus pennsylvanica, and Syringa vulgaris.

More leaf buds
The weather is warming quickly now.

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