Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Spring Ahead with Trivia - Barbara Baker


Goodbye winter. Hello spring. Another round of setting clocks ahead is behind us as well as all the rant on social media about why we continue with this practice. Some people blame farmers for screwing with our circadian rhythm, but they're not the culprits. Cows and crops rely on the sun. Not clocks. Maybe that’s why Saskatchewan ignores time change.

In 1895, George Hudson, an entomologist, made the first attempt to introduce time change. He wanted the world to go ahead two hours in the spring so he could hunt bugs in daylight after his day-job ended. He was unsuccessful with his request.

Time change kicked in during WW1 and WW2 to optimize daylight hours and conserve energy. After each war, it was up to jurisdictions to decide whether they stuck with it. In the winter of 1974, permanent daylight-saving time came into play and children started walking to school in the dark. Hello logic.

But now I’m over time change and have moved onto hello spring. The hunt for the first crocus, first dandelion sighting and of course watching birds as they construct or renovate their nests.   

I checked some of my favourite nesting sites. Unfortunately, the great horned owl's home was gone. When I found the pile of sticks scattered at the base of the tree, my heart sank. Great horned owl parents raised their fuzzy owlets here for over a decade.

I went down the Google rabbit hole to determine whether owls rebuild in the same place. What I read, shocked me. Owls typically do not build their own nest. What? How did I not know this? They apparently take over a suitable nest from another bird and spruce it up to their liking. I’m a huge owl fan. Should I think less of them for being opportunists? Or more of them for conserving their energy?

Later that day I discovered owls aren't the only opportunists. A ballsy Canadian Goose honked at me from it's perch high in the tree. Last spring a bald eagle lived there with an unobstructed view of the Bow River. Maybe I have never given geese enough credit. Maybe they are smart.  

But the first flight for her goslings will be a true test of wing power.

Geese can be cheeky buggers.

And the bald eagle moved on, seemingly unperturbed about the nest thief.

Cowbirds don’t steal nests. They merely deposit their eggs in an already furnished home. If the eggs in the nest she selects are white with beige specks, the cowbird will lay her eggs with the exact same colour pattern.

After the cowbird lays her eggs (sometimes as many as six) in the unsuspecting nest of, let’s say, Mrs. Red-Winged Blackbird, she might peck tiny holes in the host’s eggs. This way her chicks won’t have to compete for food or attention. When Mrs. Cowbird leaves, she doesn’t go far. She sticks around for a while to keep an eye on her eggs.

Mrs. Cowbird may be a negligent mom, but she wants to make sure Mrs. Red-Winged Blackbird has adequate mothering skills. If she dares to push out any of Mrs. Cowbird’s eggs, well, female cowbirds have a way of getting even. She will return to the nest when it’s unattended and toss out the original eggs.

When Mrs. Red-Winged Blackbird proves she’s a worthy foster mother, Mrs. Cowbird flies away to enjoy her freedom. In just a few weeks, she’ll flit her wings at another dashing male cowbird and the process repeats itself. As for her young, they grow up knowing they're cowbirds without their mother ever being around.

Nature is fun and funny. 

And Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humour. She can still turn on the snow-switch randomly for a few more months.



You can contact me at:

Summer of Lies: Baker, Barbara:9780228615774: Books -

What About Me?: Sequel to Summer of Lies : Baker, Barbara: Books


  1. No time change in Arizona either. But it wreaks havoc on the TV program grid coming from other states. I didn't know that birds other than the cuckoo laid their eggs in other birds' nests. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Cow birds! UGH! Didn't know that about the owls. And, as for time changes, I wish someone would put an end to it...Spring ahead is, literally, a killer by way of a statistical increase in car accidents and heart attacks.

  3. Canadian geese nesting in trees? Never heard of that! Great photos, Barbara.


I have opened up comments once again. The comments are moderated so if you're a spammer you are wasting your time and mine. I will not approve you.

Popular Posts

Books We Love Insider Blog

Blog Archive