BOSTON (CBS) – Everyone has a different harbinger of spring in their mind. That sign that seasonal change is upon us and warmer times are coming. Maybe some of us look simply to the changing daylight. Others, the first blooming crocus in the yard or witch hazel showing its colors. Or perhaps the evening chorus of peepers singing in a nearby swamp or vernal pool. To be sure, the sights and sounds of spring show up before the consistently warmer spring weather does.
Well next week, we have a little of both! A pattern that will deliver not just some milder air after a cold and wintry weekend, but some old friends who spent the winter down south. No, not your uncle Frank back from Tampa. But some feathered visitors who will once again set up shop for the warm season.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccines Paused In Massachusetts As Rare Blood Clots Are Investigated
In recent years, some have declined to leave thanks to our warming winters and the widespread use of bird feeders that ensure survival in a tough climate. Some bluebirds and red-winged blackbirds now stay throughout the season, even away from the immediate coastline. Those who left should be returning by the middle to end of next week.
With some good southwesterlies, I'd imagine the middle of next week will bring the first large bird migration of the season to New England. Expect some spring returns. pic.twitter.com/f4SPAcRGu0
— Eric Fisher (@ericfisher) March 4, 2021
A way to look for their return is in the atmosphere, because they look for clues (and a tailwind) which signal that the time has come. It appears Wednesday into Thursday will bring about some consistent southwesterly winds, along with temperatures heading into the 50s and 60s. This is an ideal time for a migration to begin.READ MORE: FDA, CDC Call For Pause On Johnson & Johnson Vaccines To Investigate Blood Clots
We’ve already seen a few trilling red-winged blackbirds enjoying the early March sun.
I once used to enjoy a robin bounding on the lawn as a harbinger of spring. Now I enjoy the red-winged blackbird and its "conk-la-ree" call as my favorite. What's your favorite harbinger of spring? pic.twitter.com/6IXXL0VqAe
— Peter Marteka (@petermarteka) March 3, 2021
Others to look for next week include Baltimore orioles, killdeer, and tree swallows that may start showing up in the milder parts of our area (mostly near the coast). The eastern phoebe and American woodcock may start to appear as well. It’s probably a bit too early for piping plovers to head back to their local nesting sites, but worth keeping an eye on.
Then there’s my particular favorite, the osprey. These birds know how to get around. They don’t just head to Florida. They’ve been known to migrate as far south as Venezuela for the winter before coming back to sit on their thrones, often atop telephone poles near the water. A decent chance we may see some poking their heads out of those nests by the end of the week.MORE NEWS: Fire Guts Meadow Brook Golf Club Clubhouse In Reading For Second Time In Nearly A Year
In any case, the signs of spring will be all around us for at least a few days. We all know March is very fickle and will likely still feature some cold and snowy days. Not out of the woods yet! But it’s a start along the path to a more colorful and active time in nature.