The Harbinger

Trusting a harbinger, trusting a messenger for what it tells of things to come is a matter of faith. The visual appearance of a messenger lends strength to subtler clues … as in the case of the song of our much anticipated springtime harbinger – The Meadowlark.

First things first, here is the star of this article singing atop a wire fence.

We’ve been feeding hay to our cattle for seven long months. Winter’s grip is nearly over and by this time, we are more than ready for a new season! I feel lifted by the encouraging song of the Meadowlark and everything she promises. She sings of spring before we see it. Her presence preceeds the actual greening of our world. She usually arrives with late snowfall as a backdrop.

This is the first year I’ve had Meadowlarks feed at open feeders in and around my garden yard. Frankly, I didn’t know that Meadowlarks would visit feeders. They are generally shy and easily startled.

I’ve got a mob of Red-Winged Blackbirds that descend on my garden yard as a peppery black cloud. Once they’ve eaten their fill, Collared Doves flutter in gracefully. They’re polite enough to allow the other birds space to feed … the Juncos, Horned Larks, Tree Sparrows … and now the Meadowlarks.

Meadowlarks are rather funny, frumpy looking birds. They’re chunky in appearance, with a beak too long and a tail too stubby. But, what they lack in graceful beauty, they make up for with their striking song. No mingled soft notes. The song of the Meadowlark is made of clear, sharp, distinct notes. It is unmistakable!

The season when we spend the most time a’horseback is also the season the Meadowlarks are the most active and vocal. Before they settle into nesting in the sagebrush, they sing … sing … sing!

“As up he wings the spiral stair, A song of light pierces air. He rises and begins to round, he drops the silver chain of sound, of many links without a break, in chirrup, whistle, slur and shake.”

– The Lark Ascending by George Merideth, 1828-1909

While looking up information pertaining to Meadowlarks, I discovered a vintage song about them that I’d never heard. But, the fellow who sang this tune is a famous “songbird” in his own right … Bing Crosby. Here is his light and Jazzy song of spring –

The song of the Meadowlark is beloved by all of us who live on the northern prairie & plains. When we hear those first notes while working outside in the early spring, one can’t help but pause and smile. You’ve just been told that spring is nigh.

“The sparkling voice ascending spreads, awakening, as it waxes thin, The best in us to him akin; And every face to watch him raised, puts on the light of children praised. So rich our human pleasure ripes, when sweetness on sincereness pipes.”

– The Lark Ascending

Is there a harbinger of spring in your corner of the world that you’re particularly fond of ??? I admit to being fickle. When the Bluebirds show up, I eagerly look to & fro for the brilliant blue male. But, the Meadowlark’s song is what makes my heart go pitter-patter when I most need to know that spring is coming. I can’t thank them as they go about the business of living, completely unaware that their arrival delights me, but, I do offer thanks to their Creator. Perhaps, an attitude of gratitude is more effervescent in a farmgirl in the spring of the year than in any other season. Anyway, that’s my take this day while I listen to my Meadowlarks promise that the snowflakes are dying two by two.

On another grateful note … Thank you again for stopping by, for your kind words and your contribution to this blog! ~ Shery J

  1. Joan says:

    Shery, what a sweet, precious, loving look at Spring. I too love hearing and seeing God’s creatures arriving to my area to make it special. Thanks for your wonderful words. God Bless

  2. Diann says:

    My harbinger arrived just yesterday in a glorious streak of bright yellow. Five years ago I awoke to see a bright yellow bird nesting in the cedar just outside my window. It was an amazing site. I immediately went to my bird id book and found what I believed could be the California Oriole. A bird that has not been seen in California for many, many years, believed to be extinct. I called some experts and started a frenzy. We had experts, cameras and video galore on the property. And yes, the California Oriole still exists. Now five years later "my" lovely orioles return each April to nest. There are now 4 or 5 pairs and they are a riot of marvelous color as they dart from olive to fig to cedar to oak. I have taken the orioles as a wonderful sign of life and strength and I am encouraged at their sight.

  3. Jan says:

    Hi Shery, I really liked this post about the Meadowlarks. I live in KS and this is our state bird. Sad to say that I haven’t seen very many the last few years here, but sounds like you get lots of them.

  4. Marcie says:

    Hi Shery,
    Love your writings about the Meadowlark.
    There is nothing like the call of a favorite bird to make one connect with Mother Nature. It soothes my inner being. I love to sit in my favorite spot in my yard beside the coral honeysuckle on a trellis (where a Robin has made a nest) and become one with the natural world. Reminds me of our ten and a half years as caretakers/land managers of a 700 acre wildlife refuge in central TX. That was then and this is now and in our retirement years we live on our tiny spot in the TN Smoky Mountains which we have turned into our bird/butterfly/bat haven and enjoy the sounds and sights of nature.

  5. Connie says:

    Hi Shery,
    I enjoyed your post on the Meadowlark. It made me feel like Spring is here even though we are still looking at snow here in Alberta. Happy Spring to You! :o)

  6. Jan says:

    My favorite bird of all time! Easter day we drove to a hill in farm country called Steptoe Butte. As we neared the crest I could hear many Meadowlarks, even with the windows rolled up! My comment to my husband was ‘Wish that we had them around the house like we used to!’. The next morning I was outside feeding my dog and heard the beautiful song. Right there, in the top of the spruce tree…Heaven sent…

  7. Louise Marie says:

    I loved the song of the meadowlark, but the song of Bing and Johnny was out of this world! Your post was beautiful and touching. God encourages His own, doesn’t He? With all the evil in the world, He still brings us this tiny, melodious creature to sing of a promise made long ago. I thank God for the promise, for the meadowlark, and for you.

  8. Becky LaTray says:

    You always inspire me. It is wonderful to know so many others wait for the song of spring in the call of the Meadowlark.

    Thank you so much for your blog

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