Great email Chris.
The good news is the 60 darkest days of the year are behind us. Yes.
Out east, redwing single males would return in late February signifying spring. . Having run some spring fever myself, is he guilty of same or just a temporary nomad?? How will I know his mindset?
hangs around (establishing territory)
sings (to deter other males)
posturing (flashing his wingbars)
food aggression (won't allow others to eat)
When the females arrive weeks later he:
"knocks himself out"
(displaying his red and yellow wing bars)
(puffing himself up)
(I've even watched one fly onto the ground in full display with his wings spread flat out doing a peculiar hop, skip and jump
Fred Astair he was not but the female might have thought it most beautiful!)
This is an oversimplication of course. But I hope you get the gist.
I think listening in all months is important.. We really miss a lot hopping in cars racing to see birds.
Get out and toddle, walk, roll or run and listen while you can.