This has been one of those weeks where the Sun is warm enough to melt everything it touches but the air is cold and the temperatures have been hovering around -9º C. If that wasn't enough to tell me spring is on its way then the mating squabbles of the Downy Woodpeckers and the Cardinals definitely was.
Another sure sign Spring is on its way is the explorations of weasel kits. I looked out the window Monday to find what I originally thought was baby Red Squirrels exploring the area around the Crabapple tree. It was only when I noticed that they had short tails that I realized they were young weasels. I haven't decided whether they were Least Weasels or Short tailed Weasels. I think they were Least Weasels, but I need to see them again before I am sure.
It was fun to watch them chase each other around the tree, diving from one mouse tunnel to the next in a wild game of hide and seek. Occasionally one of the kits would dart up to the first branch of the Crabapple tree and back down again, only to dive head first into a mouse tunnel. A family of weasels in the yard may explain why we have had fewer mice this year than normal.
A family of weasels could also spell trouble for the nesting song birds this year. I had already decided I was going to be putting nest boxes up around the property and find out we have young, voracious weasels makes it doubly important to provide safe and secure nesting places for this year's bird families. I'll have to do some investigating into ways to keep the weasels from climbing the poles and fences and raiding the nest boxes but I'm sure it can be done.