iNaturalist image of the Red Maple's samara.

For much of the United States, the winter has been severe. This will gladden the hearts of the climate change deniers. Animals, crops, and flowers will also be happy next spring and summer resisting fewer bugs and pests. Although for most of us some harbingers of spring would be welcome, as in the flowers and samaras of the Red maple. They are beginning to emerge in South Carolina and surely other areas of the southeastern United States. John James Audubon placed the Bobolink among the samara of the Red maple for his Birds of America. The tree can only hope to stand close to the plant that the Bobolink much prefers. Many once called the Bobolink a Rice bird. “One would think that every gun in the country has been put in requisition. Millions of these birds are destroyed, and yet millions remain, for after all the havoc that has been made among them in the Middle Districts, they follow the coast, and reach the rice plantations of the Carolinas in such astonishing numbers, that no one could conceive their flocks to have been already thinned.” In these same areas there are still Red maples growing and living. The rice fields though are far fewer, if not gone, and so is the Rice bird.

The Bobolink as drawn by John James Audubon for Birds of America.