We're well into the first week of March. For a lot of people, this gets them in the mind for spring, and the weather around here is certainly beginning to move more towards the warm sunny days than the dreary cloudy days of the last couple of months. But for me, I started seeing signs of spring a couple of weeks earlier.
I'd noticed a couple of years ago that the first birds I started to really notice around this time was the robin. Now, I see birds throughout the fall and winter, usually mockingbirds and finches, sometimes pigeons, and because they're always around they tend to fade into the background. But robins stand out for me during the late winter and early spring. They tend to flock in moderate to large flocks on the roadside or on the various lawns. When it's just a handful, they're easy to miss. But when you have a dozen or more, they tend to stand out, especially the males with their orange breasts.
A few friends have commented about the rather sudden appearance of robins, and they do have that feeling of appearing without warning. I believe they started appearing this year in late January, and I know I saw a couple here and there by February. But by the middle of the month, they were becoming much more common. Even now, I see them searching the fields for food. Not particularly large groups yet, but I'm sure I'll see them.