Blog: Signs of Spring

January 22, 2010

Found this lost baby goundhog sitting on a road.

Credit: Dawn Johnson
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How do you foretell the coming of spring? Every year, I enjoy hearing what readers from different regions have to say!

To me, birds are one of the best predictors. There is a weather proverb that states, "Bluebirds are a sign of spring; warm weather and gentle south breezes they bring," and this appears to be true in the northern tier of the United States. Bluebirds do not come north until all chance of winter has passed and they are assured an ample food supply.

In my state of New Hampshire, we also know spring is coming when the maple trees are starting to run. The first to notice seem to be the squirrels who start poking around the trees looking for oozing sap.

On a personal level, I know when spring is coming because I start feeling the bumps and holes on my own country driveway; the snow nicely covers and smooths out our road in winter!

Some of our readers also have practical advice. Winter will end shortly after…

  • you are inside your warm home and you hear the sound of icicles crashing from the gutters and roofs to the ground below,
  • whenever you feel motivated to peel off the 3M plastic you so meticulously taped and blow dried tight to your windows!
  • when your mailbox stops getting knocked over by the plow,
  • when the kids lose a mitten and you don't bother to replace it,
  • and the first time you can drive with you car window down - best feeling ever!

One of our favorite pieces of advice that we’ve received for predicting the weather is as follows:

Go to the back door and look for the dog.
If the dog is at the door and he is wet, it’s probably raining
But if the dog is standing there really soaking wet, it’s probably raining hard.
If the dog’s fur looks like it’s been rubbed the wrong way, it’s probably windy.
If the dog has snow on its back, it’s probably snowing.
The instructions we were sent go on to say…
Of course, to be able to predict the weather like this, you have to leave the dog outside all the time, especially if you expect bad weather.
Signed, sincerely, the cat

What signs of spring do you see? I'd love to hear! To comment, just type into the field below. (Note that you must be a registered user. Registration is free.)

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Catherine, our New Media Editor, joined The Old Farmer's Almanac in 2008. She edits content on both this Web site, Almanac.com, and the companion site to The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids publication, Almanac4kids.com. She also pens the Almanac Companion enewsletters and keeps up with readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Comments

If the dog's fur looks as if

By Jack Strait

If the dog's fur looks as if it had been rubbed the wrong way, it is probably windy. If there is no longer a dog outside, you can expect you are experiencing an early spring tornado.

It is almost spring when I

By MZ

It is almost spring when I see all the birds gathering leaves and heading for the trees to make their nests. Also, when I start to hear doves and hear crickets spring is almost here.

WELL TO ME THE FIRST SINES OF

By ITSMELOL

WELL TO ME THE FIRST SINES OF SPRING 2 ME ARE WHEN WE FIND MY DAD PASSED OUT NEKKED OUTSIDE CUZ IT WASNT TOO COLD FOR HIM OUT THERE DRUNK LOL

Oddly, North Texas has had a

By Solaiman

Oddly, North Texas has had a really cold wietnr this year: highs in the 50s, 40s, sometimes 30s (hey, for Texas, that's cold). But today is quite nice so far the high is supposed to be in the low 70s, and it's very sunny. Except it's also very windy. Almost as windy as Idaho (and that's windy).

Fuzzy "cabbages" of Lambs Ear

By elen

Fuzzy "cabbages" of Lambs Ear popping up, smelling like a basket of Easter candy

My grandma use to always say,

By Rain Melon

My grandma use to always say, "The first sighting of a Robin resolves the debate of the first day of spring."

I live in Exeter N.H. the

By Sherry Mastromarino

I live in Exeter N.H. the signs of Spring I'm seeing are my tulips are coming up.I see the sap buckets getting full on the Maple trees.My neighbors crocuses are coming up. My sure sign is when all the Starlings come & wipe out all the bird food & suet then I know for sure it's here:-)

I live in Southeast Ohio so

By spidermonkey

I live in Southeast Ohio so for me I always look for, Geese coming in, and they've been back since January and usually I don't notice them until April. Also the flowers and grass, if it starts getting Green before April it's a great sign spring is on it's way and it's very early. The buds on the trees when they are really big, I know they are gonna start to bloom on a warm front week :). And last thing, is just having a knowing feeling. Usually if I feel it and I can smell it, it's gonna be very early. I have said all winter, spring would be early and I was right :).

I live in north central

By sophies mama

I live in north central Oklahoma. My first real sign of spring is the return of the buzzards from Texas. Usually around the middle of March. I saw a couple of buzzards on Thursday the 10th so they are a bit early. Can spring be far behind?

In Klamath Falls, OR, when I

By duchess54

In Klamath Falls, OR, when I hear the birds outside just before the sun comes up. They are ready for the day and so am I.

I usually realize spring has

By kjh911

I usually realize spring has arrived when one day, suddenly, I notice the sound of running water outside. The melt and runnoff has started and the birds, maple buckets and mud will surely be here soon.

My mother used to say that

By rononPI

My mother used to say that you would never have any frost after you heard the first whippoorwill call. I am a grandfather now and I have never seen this prediction fail.

I live in Indianapolis,

By Donna Winsted

I live in Indianapolis, Indiana and we have had Robbins all winter! I saw a number in December and also in February! The Sandhill Cranes first appeared overhead in February, also, which is really early for them. Spring seems to be coming in early this year! :D

It did come early but what

By organicguy46240

It did come early but what happened to it???

I have also seen robins this

By Jenifer W

I have also seen robins this winter too in my area (Erie, PA). I also have 2 or 3 blue jays that have been coming to my feeder all winter. I have been leaving them peanuts in the shell...which they love. I also have seen what looks like a wood pecker..didn't get a good look at it but it was walking up and down the tree like one & it had a red head. I also have what I think are grackels and the little brown wrens. So for me it's hard to tell when spring is coming...I keep coming to this site to check how many days til spring :)

It's only March 3, and this

By Heather Morijah

It's only March 3, and this morning, a male house finch was singing his little feathered head off at the top of our Chinese elm tree. I was late for work, but had to look up and listen to him for a few minutes anyway. I told him it was still a little early for that kind of behavior, then went on my way.

In mid Missouri, I love to

By nina_myers

In mid Missouri, I love to hear the little spring frogs start to chirp in the evening. I know it's spring at last.

Japnese Magnolia is in full

By jerry.l.litton

Japnese Magnolia is in full bloom in February and leafing green in early March. Great Blue Heron are on nest in the swamp by late January/ early February and have nestlings in late February or early March. Alligators begin to move when air temps reach 55 to 60 degrees F and Cottom-mouths will not leave their limb till warter temps reach rising air temps of about 60 degrees F and these are found facing east soon as it warms enough.

When the Osprey return to the

By Jan Eyres

When the Osprey return to the nests at the end of my pier along the Chesapeake Bay.

I live in Nebraska, so when I

By jeanni

I live in Nebraska, so when I see and hear geese flying north. Also when I start seeing robins, I know spring is close.

I live in WI. My "sign of

By Julie R

I live in WI. My "sign of spring" is the first Robin I see. But I know it's really spring when I can "smell the dirt". Then I know I can start digging in my garden. Can't wait for either one!

I love the post by "the cat"

By chilimick

I love the post by "the cat" LOL !

We live in central Texas.

By chilimick

We live in central Texas. Best sign of spring around here is seeing a scissortail (bird). Also, when the mesquite trees start to put on green. Seems like spring may be arriving early this year. However, I am not so sure... it has fooled us plenty of times. = )

I live in Colorado.

By Thymey

I live in Colorado. Unfotunately, I'm also in the Projects. This doesn't leave me with much opportunity on reveling in the natural world but even here with one small birdfeeder I have noticed many new bird songs each morning. Last week the Grackles and Magpies returned and this morning my son spotted a Robin. Yeah! Spring!

In West Virginia when the

By Linda WV

In West Virginia when the red-winged blackbird arrives it is a sign that spring is coming!

The first sign of spring is

By Jim Downey

The first sign of spring is the return of the Killdeer. And when I see nightcrawlers on the road in the early morning, I know the ground is thawed out.

I love the first green shoots

By Thelma Bozzi

I love the first green shoots of the crocus, Although I am confused by the robins this year, I moved 50 miles south of where I was and the robins are here already for the past week. I live in southern maryland.

I use many local

By jimugone

I use many local spring-is-coming indicators but what I mainly love as a "pre-spring" reminder is the beautiful yellow winterflowers of my witch hazel (hamamelis mollis) as its yellow forsythia looking flowers contrast vividly against the snow. The seed cases of witch hazel actually explode in the fall ejecting seeds as far as 10 feet! I've always wanted to film such an event or at least spread a blanket nearby and lazily await their dispersal. Witchhazel is still used to produce a natural astringent and water finding divining rods. It certainly tells me where I stand reminding me that spring is just around the corner!

It is NEVER going to be

By Ann Hicks

It is NEVER going to be spring. I've had it with the snow/wind/blizzards!

What's that old yarn--if the

By Catherine Boeckmann

What's that old yarn--if the groundhog saw his shadow, spring's in 6 weeks; if he didn't, spring's on the 20th of March? Keep that in mind! Spring IS coming.

Spring to me is when the

By Rebecca Spurlock

Spring to me is when the tiniest tree buds show across from us on the Kentucky Rivers flooded banks. I love when the first of my crocous peek up from winters sleep. I espeacially love when we have some snow. I have to admit my bones are not at all happy for that show though. I have to agree with another (Linda I think), about the peepers as well. Their song is music to my ears and makes me listen for the crickets longingly. The birds songs change to a happier tone. "My" wrens are FUSSIER when my cat Mei-Sha' is out. YES, YES,with out a DOUBT spring, SPRING indeed is near.

Here in the Pacific North

By Bamfield Green Thumb

Here in the Pacific North West (Vancouver Island) we generally wait for the hummingbirds to arrive, which is just around the time the salmon berry bushes start to bloom. But I like watching my yellow crocus pop up the first week in February - the first hit of yellow!

When I can't stay in the

By Patricia Handley

When I can't stay in the house anymore. The air will smell fresh and feel so nice.
I live in Kansas and we will have a nice spell and then turn cold again. I know for sure it is soon to come. I start to get things ready for planting and worry that my peach blossoms will freeze again.

When I see the crocus buds I

By Rebecca Lynch

When I see the crocus buds I know spring is coming. I always think of Frances Hodgson Burnett's book, The Secret Garden, in which a sickly boy is brought back to health by another child who is learning to garden. She has entranced him with stories of spring and nature, and she runs in to his room one morning and tells him, "It has come, the Spring!" and he tells her to open the window, saying "Perhaps we shall hear golden trumpets!"

In south Texas we know that

By Eileen Koenig

In south Texas we know that Spring is around the corner when the pecan trees start budding and the hummingbirds are here.

The first sign for me is the

By trishschramm

The first sign for me is the sound of the frogs or sighting a band of ground-scratching, winter-skinnied Robins. That's my signal to look for my Jonquils poking up out of their leafy comforters in their flower beds. Then finally when the loamy scent arrives on a gentle breeze and spreads itself about like honey on warm toast, I'm sure to soon find the forsythia a'bloom. And that is when I join in in Nature's dithyramb!

I love hearing the spring

By Linda Beckman

I love hearing the spring peepers in the distance, but my first harbinger of Spring is the call of the male red-winged blackbird. I listen for it each year in southern Ohio. :-)

I have to agree! I love it

By Moon Watcher

I have to agree! I love it when I hear the male red-wing blackbirds calling out while preparing their new nests in the cat-tails in our pond. Such a welcome sound! I'm in Indiana not far from Ohio.

I like the peepers.. the

By Goshengooch

I like the peepers.. the sound of birds also in the morning when the snow is still on. The robins stayed in Kentucky this year... Everyday is one day closer.

Here in Mid-Ohio, while the

By William Mccain

Here in Mid-Ohio, while the robin is best known as the sign of spring, it's really the red-winged blackbird that is the true harborer of the coming of spring. Winter's not over yet, but I don't expect much more harsh weather. My fingers are crossed and my seed catalogs are piled up on the table (lol) See you all in the spring! Willy

My favorite sign of spring

By sandy ankrom

My favorite sign of spring here in Mid-Ohio is when the peepers start to sign.
Sandy

In North Carolina I always

By Fabian Franklin

In North Carolina I always look for the bluebirds and the blooming of the daffodils and hyacinths; our traditional first flowers of spring.

You know when Spring is

By ru4real69

You know when Spring is coming, when new buds form on trees and the birds start to gather straw and things to make their nest.

In Ontario Canada, the first

By Chris Jackson

In Ontario Canada, the first signs of spring to me are looking out the window and when I see the trees budding, spring is just around the corner.

It is when I see the first

By Mary Jaeger

It is when I see the first snowdrop flowers that I know that spring is not too far away.

Spring comes late in Rapid

By Heather Morijah

Spring comes late in Rapid City, SD. Believe it or not, one of the truest signs is the return of the flock of turkey vultures that roosts along Rapid Creek on the west side of town. The first sight of bulbs poking up makes me smile, but we have a long way to go!

Here in Huntington, WV, in

By InfoSeeker

Here in Huntington, WV, in the past we could count on the robins, but now they stay year round and eat the berries off my holly tree, darn it. I think the best way to know that Spring is coming is to find snowdrops and crocus in bloom. The green shoots of those and also my daffodils are already showing.

It is the Redbud Tree that

By Stephen Oconnor

It is the Redbud Tree that assures me Spring is here in Savannah GA. The very first blooms opened up yesterday (Feb 1) in spite of the cold temps. Today many more blooms have opened and I am thrilled! Another sure sign of Spring is when the Cedar Waxwings stop by to enjoy the bright red Holly berries in our backyard. Within an hour the berries are gone. Amazing!

Though some robins stay year

By Joyce Hochsprung

Though some robins stay year round in the metro area of MN, out here on the prairie I know that when the robins return to my yard spring can't be far behind.
As to tracking the arrival of spring across the country on your website, I would love to see that and would happily participate.

Redwing black birds return to

By Charlotte Kuntz

Redwing black birds return to Steamboat Springs, CO. A true sign winter has moved away from here. We'll continue to receive mild snowstorms, but year over year, it's been my sign that winter is done.

I am in Washington DC, so its

By Carolyn Mayle

I am in Washington DC, so its usually when i see the first snopdrop flowers or crocus.. also when i start hearing the birds chirping. But it does NOT feel like its anytime soon with the snow we are getting!!

In South Louisiana, we know

By C La

In South Louisiana, we know Spring is near when the Crawfish start feeding in the traps. Changes in our seasons are always food related.

Here in Northeast LA our

By Lynetta Billiot

Here in Northeast LA our first signs of Spring on the way is definitely the Robin. When I begin to see them around my heart just sings, by this time I'm ready to get the garden prepared and some planting done.

In Upstate New York, I look

By Linda Margison

In Upstate New York, I look for the first Robin, the sweet smell of the muddy earth, and the first waking yawns of the trees. Of course there's always time for one more snow before Easter.

in arkansas we see the

By Sharon Berry

in arkansas we see the jonquils blooming and the night sounds of the spring frogs as you pass a small creek as the first signs of spring

The outside cat spends the

By Tom Blong

The outside cat spends the winter in the cellar because she doesn't get along with the house cat. When she starts wanting to go outside again,spring is near.Hagaman New York

Here in Michigan,when the

By Carolyn Autio

Here in Michigan,when the Robin arives,Chipmonks comes out,but my for sure sign is when my Chives pop out of the ground,gets warm every time.Bye

Living in Wyoming, there can

By Mike Van Heule

Living in Wyoming, there can be several "false" Springs with Winter again a few days later. You know it is Spring for sure when the Meadowlarks show up and sing their songs.

I look for Robins, Bluejays,

By secorlaw

I look for Robins, Bluejays, Blue Herons, Seagulls, and Pelicans, and finally the Swallows near Fort Collins, Colorado

When water flows free of ice

By KernanDavis

When water flows free of ice -- snow lurks only in the forest -- Redwing Blackbirds call out -- frogs chorus together -- trees crash into the beaver pond, here in the hills above the Mohawk River.

Here in Va I would have to

By Jo Ann Weeks

Here in Va I would have to say when I see Buttercups & Crocus start shooting up from the ground. Then we see Robins starting to flock in....I cannot wait for lovely SPRING!!!

When the snow on the ski

By Alan Brock

When the snow on the ski slopes in New England starts getting soft and mushy. That's a sign of spring!!

Spring is on its way when the

By June Coon

Spring is on its way when the geese fly north.

I was just telling someone

By Brenda Gale

I was just telling someone the other day that I always know when spring is on the way (or already here) when the leaf buds on the California buckeye start to "spring" open. Time to start those seeds I have tucked away, I guess!

First sign of spring here in

By Mare-Anne Jarvela

First sign of spring here in the back woods of NH is when the frost heaves pop up in the roads and you have to slow down to a crawl so you don't destroy your car.

Here in Florida, Spring is

By Leonard Guenette

Here in Florida, Spring is right around the corner, when the Snowbirds start to go back north and we can once again drive the speed limit instead of 20 MPH. See you next year, we love you. Bye Bye.

Sure, sounds good. We in the

By Steve Jones 6

Sure, sounds good. We in the deep south appreciate all the good signs of the coming spring.

NEW GROWTH On Plants! once my

By gardengurl

NEW GROWTH On Plants!

once my hummingbird plants that are overwintered inside start putting out new shoots I know that spring is on the way. Another sign is that it starts getting a little lighter earlier each morning instead of just in the evening.

I was going to say Robins

By Darnelle Goines

I was going to say Robins also and all the new growth on shrubs, trees and flowers popping up from the ground

Signs of Spring, that hope

By Ella Porter

Signs of Spring, that hope that winter is coming to a close and warm is on it's way. Robins in the yard, thunderstorms, frogs singing and new growth on the trees. This is what gives me hope every year, that we can open the doors and air out the house.

Curious. I've fed birds year

By Edward C. Brainard Jr.

Curious. I've fed birds year round as long back as I can remember. I have NEVER seen a ROBIN in the winter. Where do they go? We live in Ohio and our local weather people say the robin never leaves.....a mystery.

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