5 Signs of Spring: Birds, Peepers, and Tree Buds

First Signs of Spring for Nature Lovers

February 24, 2019
Spring peeper HGW frogs

Spring Peeper

Jessica Crabtree

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Isn’t it nice to wake up and hear the birds singing? If you observe closely, the first signs of spring are in the air—leaves are budding, birds are chattering, and butterflies are migrating. Every year, we enjoy hearing what readers from different regions have to say!

Even if it’s still winter and your ground is covered in snow, there are indeed subtle signs that spring is on the way. 

1. Birds are singing!

To me, my backyard 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.

I am already hearing bird song in mid-February from chickadees, titmice, and red-winged blackbirds. The cardinals sing their “cheer, cheer, cheer” to say that we are turning a corner.

As the days gradually become lighter and temperatures start to lift, the chorus will become louder.  By early March, a chorus of birdsong fills the air as the migrating birds return. Warblers, sparrows, yellowthroad, and finch are more favorites. You may hear the knock of woodpeckers, too!  Even ducks start to return to our lakes.

What new bird sounds do you hear?


2. Trees are budding

In late February, look for the buds on your trees. Some of the first trees to bud are the willows and silver maples, followed in early March with the red maples.

Another sign is the sap is flowing!  Mmm … I love real maple syrup!  The first to notice seem to be the squirrels who start poking around the trees looking for oozing sap.


3. Peepers are peeping

As early as February, we hear the spring peepers! These small inch-long frogs like wet areas so we know the ground thawing and the winter snow is melting. These tiny amphibians sing loudly, creating quite a chorus on an early morning walk!

Credit: Virginia Herpetological Society

4. Fresh, soft scents

Ever notice that entrancing smell of spring? The Earth is awakening and it does indeed smell more, well, earthy. With warmer weather, misty mornings and soft wet smells fill the air. 

5. Potholes galore!

OK, let’s be real. I also know when spring is coming because I start feeling the bumps and holes on the road; the snow nicely covered any road imperfections for months. Now, my car is shuddering as it drives across never-ending potholes. Argh!

And more from our readers … 

Some of our readers also have practical and often humorous observations. 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 your car window rolled down—best feeling ever!

What are the first signs of spring in your neck of the woods? To comment, just type into the field below. 

See our Spring Equinox page!

About This Blog

Your Old Farmer’s Almanac editors occasionally share our reflections, advice, and musings—and welcome your comments!