Just past sunrise, a vagrant red squirrel appears in the yard, given away at first by her nervous, jerky movements as she forages for breakfast, then the old-barn color as she emerges from the lilac’s shadow, head swiveling about.

Wind throbs in the treetops; the birdcall app thinks it’s a drumming grouse. Juncos twitter from the lilac, which has just burst its buds—a green apparition against the brown woods.

25F at sunrise. A ruffed grouse—the first I’ve seen since last winter—flushes from under the lilac. Perhaps the population is beginning to recover from West Nile Virus? I relish the small thunder of its wings.