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7 Fun First Signs of Spring to Look For

Three purple crocuses popping up in the early spring.
Jason Fitzpatrick / LifeSavvy

Winter seems to last forever and really starts to drag by February. By March, most of us are itching to find any sign of spring we can find. Here are some signs that spring is, well, in the air.

Depending on where you live, these signs will be a little bit different, of course. But no matter where you are, if winter weather is receding, you’ll see signs of spring arriving—every locale has telltale plant signs, animal activity, and more. Here’s a fun look at some of the things you could be looking for if you can’t wait for spring to get here.

Early Tree Buds Forming

Keep an eye on your trees when you’re in your yard or out on a walk. Some trees, especially maple trees, start getting buds quite early in the spring. Some snow might even still be on the ground when you see them start growing their new leaves. Japanese magnolias and flowering dogwoods are a couple of the first blooming trees of spring, so it’s extra reassuring to see buds appearing on them.

Tapping Maple Trees

Speaking of trees—you can expect to see maple “farmers” tapping trees to start gathering sap to make syrup, sugar, and more. Nothing says spring like fresh maple sugar candies from the farmer’s market. This is the prime time of year to get extra fresh and delicious maple treats.

Early Perrenials Poking from the Ground

Trees aren’t the only place where new green things are growing. Although daffodils and some lilies make their presence known shortly after the snow has melted—there’s a good reason they’re associated with Easter—two common flowers you’ll see when snow’s still on the ground are the crocus and the snowbell. Snowbells tend to pop up first, but the little white flowers are easy to miss if there’s still a crust of melting snow about. Crocus flowers, on the other hand, come in an array of colors, including purple and yellow. They’re often easy to spot even in the snow.

The First Birds of Spring Arriving

Think of the birds you’re used to seeing in the spring and summer feeding on your bird feeders. You don’t see most of them during the winter months, so it makes sense that once they start showing up, spring must be in the air. This means the return of redwing blackbirds, hummingbirds, and more. In some states, the robin is a sure sign that spring is almost here. You can also expect to start hearing woodpeckers drumming away on trees and poles.

Other Critters Emerging

A Spring peeper frog, expanding its throat to give one of its famously loud calls.
Brad M. Glorioso/USGS National Wetlands Research Center

While many animals change their behavior in the spring, many people say you can’t really consider it spring until the spring peepers and other chorus frogs start singing their tunes as the boisterous little frogs are very particular about temperature.

Once the frogs are active, expect to hear all the familiar insect sounds, too. Crickets emerge again and fill the evening air with sound. Bumblebees and honeybees will start coming around to collect pollen from those early blooms. Expect to start seeing butterflies flitting about as well.

The Stinky Smells of Spring

Another common sign of spring in some states is the skunk. Although skunks don’t completely hibernate during the winter, and you can spot them and smell them on warmer days even in January and February, when the damp night air is heavy with the scent of skunks and you see a dead skunk or two out on the road, spring is definitely here.

Delightful Smells of Spring

Close your eyes and think of that first spring rain. The fresh mix of rainwater and the scent of earth, also known as petrichor, is an incredibly distinct smell. As things begin to thaw outside, the smell of dirt makes its way into the air—a smell anyone with a fondness for rainy spring days or digging about in their garden will be thrilled about.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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