For many people, birds are the first signal that spring is around the corner. The sound of a cardinal’s song can be a sign of spring’s imminent arrival, Lyttle said. This is about the time of year when the male cardinals begin to sing to attract mates.
“The spring song sort of sounds like laser beams, but it is all about impressing the ladies,” she said.
For many people, catching a glimpse of the first robin of the year is a reason to be optimistic about spring. These birds have long been associated with spring’s arrival, and now is about the time we start seeing them.
Robins live in northern Illinois all year, but we don’t see them very often in the winter, when they spend almost all of their time roosting in trees, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Around this time, we start seeing them more, as they spend more time sitting atop the trees and even on the ground. We often start to hear the robins’ song in later winter, before they become a daily sight on our lawns, digging for worms.
Robins aren’t the only type of bird that serves as a harbinger of spring. Another bird we typically start to see again this time of the year is the red-winged blackbird.
“Birders seem to really know spring is right around the corner when they spot (red-winged blackbirds) traveling back in,” Lyttle said.
Even the disappeance of certain birds can signal winter is on its way out. Dark-eyed juncos, for example, are only here during the coldest part of the year. Juncos arrive in late fall, then retreat north to their breeding grounds in Canada as spring starts to set in.
Already In Bloom