Feb 19, 2016 | Featured Web Article

Our Favorite Signs of Spring—by the Bird Watcher's Digest staff

Robins are often considered the first sign of spring, but not all robins leave their home range in winter. Their appearance is not necessarily a sign of spring. The song is a rich, slightly hoarse warble: cheery-o, chrulee, cheery-up!
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We've always had one or more birders on staff here at BWD and we've also been fortunate to have many staff members who are interested in nature and the outdoors, if not specifically focused on birds. Here in southeastern Ohio, where our offices are located, February is one of those winter months that can really make you long for spring. So this morning we went around the office to ask everyone his or her favorite sign of spring. Here's what we learned:

Elsa Thompson, founding publisher: "I really love hearing the Carolina wrens in my backyard tuning up! I like to think that these wrens are descended from the pair that nested in our garage back in 1978 when we started Bird Watcher's Digest right here in this same house."

Bill Thompson, III, editor and co-publisher: "The red-shouldered hawks are breaking sticks off the trees behind the BWD offices, so I know they're already getting busy with nesting somewhere nearby!"

Laura Thompson, circulation/marketing director: "When I see the crocuses coming up in the flower beds in front of the office, I know that spring is nearly here!"

Ann Kerenyi, controller: "An end to all these snow days, so my kids can get back to school!"

Wendy Clark, advertising/events director: "I've been hearing a pair of great horned owls hooting behind my house at night. It's so cool, but also kind of eerie. But definitely a sign of spring!"

Dawn Hewitt, managing editor: "When I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, I could hear the woodcocks peenting in a field behind my backyard. That field has now been developed, so no more woodcocks there, but it has long been my favorite harbinger of spring. I look forward to hearing the 'timberdoodles' this spring here in Ohio!"

Kyle Carlsen, data and accounts manager: "I heard the tufted titmice singing like crazy this morning as I arrived at work. That's a good sign of spring whether you live in town or in the wooded countryside."

Melody Carpenter, BWD Nature Shop: "I like that the days are getting longer! Those short winter days are depressing. I'm looking forward to the longer days of spring and summer."

Amy Sole, fulfillment director: "I know it's not really a sign of spring, but I like seeing all the robins in my yard when the weather warms up."

Alan Rollins, controller/IT director: "Easter lilies are my favorite sign of spring!"

Mollee Brown, marketing and web assistant: "A big sign of spring for me is seeing pairs of redtails. At my house or on the road, I love watching out for their spectacular acrobatics in the air."

Katherine Koch, webmaster: "My sign of spring is the increased birdsong in the mornings. At my parents' house, every spring there is a robin that sings persistently and loudly outside the bedroom windows at 5 a.m. My dad always called him the 'little bastard.' Every time I hear robins in the spring, I can't help but laugh!"



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  • I have experienced this when a house wren punctured 5 blue bird eggs last spring in our blue bird box. Then I hung out a wren box by the trees and he got busy filling it and left the bluebirds alone and they successfully raised another brood!
    by Susan, Sun, 07 Apr 2019
  • I also have several turkeys that live in the woods behind me. They visit early morning and near sundown. Living in the country with a mountain and brook behind my house, I have animals visiting 24hrs a day. My turkeys are awesome. They know me and wait for their breakfast. They hop up on my patio wall to look in my windows. I also noticed the 2 birds that are the lookouts. They come over to eat as the others march across my lawn to my neighbor who also feeds the animals. We also have coyotes that, I am sure, have eaten turkey dinner. The squirrels run around and chase them to protect their seeds and cracked corn. I feed my 3 raccoons peanut butter jelly sandwiches, which they share with a possum and 3 skunks, at the same time, by the way. No food goes into my garbage. Meat scraps go to crows and hawks. Everything else, even soup, gets eaten before the sun is completely set. That keeps bears away if no dishes are there to entice. I break up bread in tiny pieces now and turkeys 'gobble' it up. So happy to find another person that enjoys wildlife. Nothing is more satisfying than walking out side and spotting Daisy the skunk, calling her name and watching her tripping all over herself, running to meet you. Thank you for your valuable information.
    by Stella Kachur, Wed, 27 Mar 2019
  • This is exactly my experience. The local feed store had some on sale so I thought I'd try some. Actually I was shocked at how it is avoided, and I've been feeding birds for more than 40 years. I suppose I've never had it out as the ONLY food source, but when I put it out along with the blackoil, peanuts, cracked corn and suet cakes, absolutely nothing would touch it. Even when I dumped some on the ground the rabbits wouldn't eat it, nor would the squirrels. Eventually some turkeys and deer ate some--when they could find nothing else underneath the other feeders. But even they left plenty on the ground which they NEVER do with cracked corn, sunflower, etc.Every person should try some if they're inclined and decide for themselves since every situation may be a bit different, but for me/my species, safflower is a big no.
    by Colin Croft, Sun, 03 Mar 2019
  • I have questions about the Zick Dough? It says not to use in cold weather. It is still in the 40s here. Too soon? How long should I expect a supply to last? And, use a tray feeder? Thanks.
    by martindf, Sun, 25 Nov 2018
  • Glad I found this. I'm a snowbird and was worried about all the birds that come to feed at my birdfeeder. I have Cardinals, sparrows, doves, Blue Jays, chickadees. I hope they'll find food elsewhere while I'm gone.
    by Donna, Sat, 03 Nov 2018