Most people can’t wait for spring to arrive, and backyard bird watchers seem especially eager for the earth, spinning on its invisible axis, to lean closer to the sun. This subtle planetary shift creates warmer weather for those of us in the northern hemisphere. Warmer weather brings us many of our favorite things: birds, flowers, butterflies, and best of all, an end to being cooped up inside the house during bitter cold winter days.
When the winter weather breaks, it’s time to get outside to look for other hopeful signs that spring is on its way. In honor of those first tentative steps we take out the ice-battered door, squinting skyward at the bright yellow orb we thought had deserted us, here are my Top Ten Backyard Signs of Spring. Please forgive me if your backyard does not have all 10 of these signs. Look on the bright side: Winter is almost over! Spring is nearly here!
10. Songbird songs. The first species that I noticed tuning up this year was a tufted titmouse singing Peter, Peter, Peter in our orchard on a sunny Sunday afternoon in late January. His song was my first aural reminder that winter will eventually fade. Since then I’ve heard house and purple finches, white-breasted nuthatches, song sparrows, and northern cardinals.
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