Spring is coming. It is definitely not here. In New England, there is a long period that is not really spring, but not winter anymore either. We are in it right now. So today was fairly warm, but tonight is quite chilly, for example. I track it with birds, too, and it was nicely illustrated on my drive into the office this morning.
Winter: I saw Juncos in my yard this morning. Classic winter bird. Once they're gone, it is spring.
Spring: The song sparrows are singing up a storm behind my office.
Winter: There is nothing to eat in the woods, so the wild turkeys in Chestnut Hill were marching along on the newly capped ash dump off Hammond Pond Parkway today, eating something in the grass.
Spring: There are robins everywhere, pulling worms out of the damp, thawing lawns.
You get the picture.
In other avian news, MMWR has a nice report this week on salmonella outbreaks caused by handling baby chicks. This is not a new problem, it is a well known problem, yet it seems to persist. The article describes three outbreaks. In one, the reason why people bought the chicks is not described. In another, most of the people bought the chicks as a source of food or eggs (a reasonable enough reason to buy chickens, I reckon). In the third case, some person brought baby chicks to a daycare for the children to play with and nine kids got sick. My daughter would love to play with baby chicks, and she'd have a blast, and it would be adorable, but I'd love to fly an F-22, break the sound barrier and fire off a few missiles, and that isn't happening either, for the same reason: the Man won't let me. Wait, that has nothing to do with baby chicks. What was I talking about again? Oh, baby chicks. Don't touch 'em.