For many people, birds are the first signal that spring is around the corner, Lyttle said. She explained that, for her, seeing a turkey vulture a few weeks ago, while traveling to Indiana, was her first sign of spring being on its way.
“It may not be as cute as a groundhog, but it was very exciting to see this migrate back in town,” she commented.
The sound of a cardinal’s song one recent morning was another clear sign of spring’s imminent arrival, she 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.
Another bird that we often see — and hear — more of around this time is the black-capped chickadee. Last Saturday, at Plum Creek Nature Center, Lyttle said she heard the chickadees for the first time this year, with their recognizable call that sounds like they are singing “cheeeeseburrrrger.”
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, who added she saw her first one this year recently while driving home from work.
Already In Bloom