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.
For a little more on this subject, read the January essay in "The Ornithological Year" on the ASM website at
Bob Fisher
Independence, MO
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Fall Meeting: September 24-26 at Camp Clover Point