It is my thesis that "spring" really begins,
albeit very slowly, when the days begin to lengthen after the winter solstice in
December. As a result, many birds are already getting ready for spring
activities. These include Great Horned Owls, which have been courting (i.e.
duetting hoots) since December and should be nesting by now, and American
Goldeneye, the drakes of which will be doing head bobbing where and if there is
open water. They also include resident song birds like Cardinals and Chickadees,
whose hormones are stimulated by the lengthening days and begin to sing, usually
on cloudless days.
Realizing that birds are proclaiming spring when
they sing in January should help lift the mid-winter blues.