Top Signs of Spring

Spring is on the way, and the birds are really showing it! But just what are the main ways you can look at birds for signs of spring? Listed below are quite a few signs to look for.


  • Red-Winged Blackbirds returning. Red-winged blackbirds return just in time to find a mate and start building a nest for the breeding season.
  • Eastern Bluebirds checking out nest boxes. The bluebirds nest earlier than most birds, but when you see them looking at nest boxes, they are choosing the one that they want to use for the year.
  • Birds gathering nesting materials. I often see house sparrows gathering beak fulls of straw to make their nests out of. They also like to collect the hair that my lab sheds (as do the goldfinches) in spring and summer.
  • Birds singing. Though cardinals sing year-round, most birds do not. When you hear the finches singing, and the mourning doves cooing, it is sure that spring is on the way!
  • Warblers arriving. Warblers are those long-awaited birds that every birdwatcher can't wait for them to arrive. Yellow-rumped warblers are the earliest to arrive in Ohio, often arriving by mid february. The other warblers follow, and generally arrive some time in April.
  • Decreased feeder visits. When the birds don't visit your feeders as often (maybe some species stop coming completely), it is because nesting is on their mind. They have to prepare by excavating cavities (in the case of woodpeckers, nuthatches, etc.), building nests, gathering nesting materials, attracting mates, and choosing bird houses.

   These are just a few of the many ways you can tell that spring is on the way just by watching birds. Oh, and by the way, seeing robins isn't neccessarily a sign of spring. They actually live in Ohio year-round.

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