The Early Signs of Spring

Once again after an especially harsh winter it’s incredible to witness the first signs of spring: snowdrops blooming (this year they could even be found blooming as early as January!), migrants like warblers and woodcocks arriving, etc.

From March through April you can hear birds begin singing again in their dawn chorus. Bumblebees buzz about and you might even find some frog spawn in ponds!


Daffodils and their relatives (crocuses, trillium and snowdrops) are some of the earliest flowers of spring. Blooming as early as January or February in woodlands, parks and gardens across North America they signal that winter has come to an end and warmer temperatures are on their way.

Daffodils make excellent cut flowers. For maximum vase life, cut them when their flower buds are still tight and only one bloom has opened on each stem. Place immediately in clean water with added floral preservative; they should last about seven days this way.

Daffodils, like tulips, are easy to grow and require minimal care once established. They thrive both in full sun or partial shade conditions but tend to do better in sunlight than deep shade conditions. Daffodils tolerate most soil types but prefer medium-heavy loam soil types for optimal performance; heavy clay soil may benefit from adding organic material like well-rotted compost or wood ash for drainage improvements before planting.

For optimal results, plant daffodils in drifts or groups rather than rows for the best results. This will create a more natural look in the garden and pair well with large perennial companions such as hosta, heuchera and helleborus.

Daffodils don’t need frequent fertilization, but when planting time comes around and fertilizers are chosen for planting purposes, all-purpose (5-10-5) or bone meal with high phosphorus content are excellent choices. Compost and wood ash applications in fall or early spring also work wonders to promote flower production. Daffodils should be divided every five to ten years or when flower production decreases significantly.


Spring marks the return of trees as their leaves open up and absorb more solar energy to fuel their growth. Furthermore, spring encourages tree roots to dig deep into the soil in search of moisture for continued development or repairs sustained over winter.

Temperatures this year have been more favorable than normal, prompting deciduous trees to blossom much earlier than usual, with buds already beginning to open on some trees. This could indicate that warm conditions could continue through summer resulting in early flowering and an extended growing season for many trees.

Signs of spring don’t just include snowdrops and daffodils – early-blooming wildflowers like yellow primroses as well as trees with long, unusual-looking flowers such as hazel catkins whose male flowers extend into “lamb’s tails”, ready to pollinate female flower buds that appear later in April.

Other early indicators of spring include the arrival of frogspawn in ponds between January and March (depending on where you live) as well as birds beginning their mating rituals after returning home after winter break. At about the same time, dawn choruses featuring blackcaps, chiffchaffs, and wrens typically commence, often filling the sky even before sun has risen!

Take your children outside and introduce them to nature by observing its early signs. Watching spring’s initial buds unfold will open their eyes to our world, forests and woodlands that require care for health; season cycles and rhythms; as well as instilling respect and a sense of belongingness towards Mother Earth’s landscapes.


Early signs of spring can be as subtle as one snowdrop peeking its head up from the soil or buds beginning to appear on trees. Recognizing these early indicators can be an excellent way to reconnect with nature and encourage family exploration of outdoor spaces.

Birds provide an early sign of spring by becoming more active, returning to their breeding grounds and singing more frequently. With longer daylight hours comes increased breeding activity among birds that sing more often and may even plump out their feathers and grow long specialized feather shapes to distinguish themselves.

Other early indicators of spring include frogs croaking and water dripping from wetland habitats, signaling that spawning season is underway. Frogs are known for having an exuberant, noisy nature; their calls often become increasingly raucous in northern regions where wood frogs begin their courtship rituals with loud calls from below while snow still covers the ground.

As February progresses, hellebores – or Lenten roses – become visible throughout gardens and parks. Their pink petals usually open around Lent, which in 2024 begins on February 14.

Flowers are another clear indicator of spring. From blossoming trees such as rowan and hawthorn to wild cherry blossom, blossoms provide stunning visual displays in our woodlands and hedgerows; providing bees and insects shelter and food while they pollinate. Other seasonal flower signs can be found among lesser celandine and wood sorrel; this latter species boasts bright yellow star-shaped blossoms which appear throughout woodland and grassland environments.


Springtime for bees means replenishing their food supply. New colonies emerge while established ones reemerge, and it is also mating and egg production time for their queen bee, helping her colony expand. Worker bees travel from flower to flower in search of nectar and pollen which they then bring back to their hives via pollination; pollen adheres itself to millions of hairs covering their bodies – this process being essential in creating fruit, vegetables, nuts, and flowering plants that sustain us all.

As well as wildflowers and blossoming trees, one of the earliest signs of spring are clusters of lesser celandine flowers which can be seen throughout February and March in woodlands and hedgerows across the UK. Their vibrant yellow petals make the ground into an ocean of colour!

Once days become longer, bees emerge from their winter hibernation and embark on their annual mission of gathering nectar from flowers and trees. You can help bees out by planting native wildflowers or creating bee hotels – and they might just thank you!

Keep an eye out for red admirals at Ardgartan Argyll, peacock butterflies at Cropton and Thorpe Forests, brimstones at Beddgelert, common blues at Keldy, purple emperors at Blackwood Forest as sure signs of spring. Also listen out for drumming woodpeckers on tree barks; often heard in Hampshire forests but often visible only at local reserves if you want to see them! Dormice also begin reappearing now – search the ground for gnawed hazelnuts bearing toothmarks to spot them!


An overhead butterfly or the sound of beech tree buds opening are both telltale signs of spring. Flowers such as daffodils, crocuses and tulips often signal its arrival first while Magnolias are another classic indicator that spring has arrived across the UK. Now is also an excellent time for discovering bluebell carpets along woodland trails and marveling at their delicate beauty!

Early signs of spring can be hard to spot after months of snow and cold. Keep an eye out for snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils emerging from the ground; also keep an eye out for brightly-colored red breasted robins as well as blackbirds and wrens singing their melodic songs!

Animal lovers should keep an eye out for buzzard pairs in mid-March as this can indicate breeding pairs. Once paired for life, males reaffirm their bond through an aerial display including swooping, locking talons, and locking wings – an obvious signal that breeding has begun!

As you venture outside, listen for the dawn chorus that gradually grows over spring. Blackbirds, wrens and other birds will adorning your surroundings will announce each new day with excitement!

With longer days, there’s no better excuse than spring’s arrival to head outdoors and appreciate nature’s first signs of life. Not only is this sensory treat but can help us appreciate all that it means as winter gradually gives way to spring! Get involved with the RSPB’s “Spot the Signs of Spring” survey to record any early indications from either your own garden, local park or wilder locations!

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