Here, in the midst of the hardest winter I have experienced in over thirty years, I have been given hope.
Cardinals generally do not sing after mid-August around here; they only make a single “pip” sound all Fall and Winter. And they don’t begin their beautiful song again until some time in February.
Last year they started in late February, and spring seemed never to come. Shoots rose above the ground right on schedule, in late March and early April, and then just stayed there dormant as winter dragged on and on, up until early May.
But this year, when winter began so early and so cold, I heard a cardinal sing on February 1. And I have heard cardinals singing daily ever since.
I cannot say from experience that this means we will have an early spring, but it does not seem unreasonable to suspect some correlation between these things.
At any rate, I will cling to whatever hope I can….
Photo thanks to Wisconsin Birding FB page; ht to Joy White.