In the Mid Atlantic, the appearance of wildlife is a traditional sign of spring. Birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and other creatures all appear in numbers during the spring season.
Birds are often associated with spring throughout the Mid Atlantic. In the final days of winter, snow geese grow restless along the Atlantic Flyway. As each day grows longer, they become more and more vocal and take to the air relentlessly. Finally, in early spring, flocks of snow geese fill the skies as they move to their seasonal nesting sites.
Another goose, the Canada goose is an icon of spring season in Mid Atlantic states. During early spring, geese separate into pairs and begin nesting. Outdoor enthusiasts often see the gander standing guard near a source of water as the goose is hidden nearby with her clutch of eggs. After the goslings hatch, the family will appear together, feeding and swimming.
Throughout the region, wild turkey sightings are a ritual of spring. In rural areas, male turkeys are seen giving elaborate displays to their prospective mates, with birds often gathering in large flocks. Eventually the flocks disband as the hens incubate their clutches of eggs.
Songbirds are often associated with spring. Robins are a traditional favorite, arriving in large numbers onto suburban lawns. Bluebirds also appear in spring, returning to the same birdhouse year after year. Along woodland streams, warblers suddenly appear, as if released from a box nearby. They feed and sing for a few days, then sometimes disappear just as suddenly. One of the most beloved spring icons is the hummingbird. This tiny bird migrates thousands of miles each spring, appearing just in time to sip from spring flowers.
Cottontail rabbits appear as grass gets deeper. Their numbers seem to increase each day as young rabbits become more curious and their appetites continue non-stop.
Reptiles and amphibians are another sign of spring. Small frogs are heard chirping, even before warm weather becomes consistent. As lily pads emerge and ponds come to life, bullfrogs are seen and heard.
To anglers, freshwater fish signal the spring season. First come yellow perch and white perch, then hickory shad and river herring. As the spring season progresses, the number of fish species increases dramatically.