On January 28, I first heard chickadees this year discussing the possibility of getting together over coffee. On January 29, there was a woodpecker drumming. They are all overly hopeful.
However today I saw two squirrels chasing each other, despite having to cross vast stretches of icy tundra where a hawk could nail them. Sex is a fearful thing.
Yesterday it was in the 40's. Perversely, it felt much colder outside than the windless day-before-yesterday in the 20's. Much melting took place; I know this because the snow on my deck is now some 4" below the level of the concrete-filled bucket in which the feeder-tree is planted. Previously about the same amount above it, which made flling the feeders much easier. I gather the raccoons are asleep somewhere, and for whatever reasons any squirrels (gray, all them, so far this year) that come here eat only a meal once in a while and do not plunder or ravage.
The remaining snow on my deck, about a foot, is as dense as the styrofoam protecting computers or stereo components in their shipping boxes; I walk on it without leaving any impression or getting my boots snowy.