We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Usually we begin to see the first flocks of northward-headed blackbirds in New England around Feb 15, but in recent years their arrivals are later and later. This year, the first wave arrived here yesterday.
"Blackbird" isn't a species - it's a category. Around here, it is mainly Red Wing Blackbirds and Common Grackle, who have spent their winter in the southern US and are headed for the marshy breeding grounds in the northern US and Canada. Very early migrators, they don't seem to mind nasty weather as long as it does not persist. (In the midwest and west, there are other species of Blackbirds.)
Photo below of male Red Wings. The females are an inconspicuous brown. In spring, the males get up on a branch, flash their red epaulets, and crow, in their territorial ritual, while the drab females skulk around and build nests in the rushes.
Sorry to ruin it for you BD. But, here in western MT, we have not had any snow on the ground for nearly two months. We had a good snow the first week or two of January, but nothing since. It might flurry a little, but it doesn't stick. We have had temperatures in the high 40's and low 50's for more than 3 weeks now. I am sitting at my window looking out at bare ground--no snow anywhere and bright sun. Tulips have popped out of the ground. This is Montana Bird Dog. Thirty five years ago we would still have had 2 feet on the ground and it would start to melt a little next week. Then we would have another big storm in April (at least another foot). We would have had 12 -15 feet of snow pack in the higher mountains in mid July. I can barely see any snow in the foothills of the high mountains and nothing around this bowl. So, yes there has been warming in some areas.
We used to have friends who were in Lockheed/Douglas testing divisions--in the 1950's they were worried then about "the Russians meddling with the weather." Guess maybe they have learned to target bad weather where they want it--you think?
Also in Western Montana. At my biblically alloted three score and ten, and after a lifetime in the woods, I can only say, this is my kind of winter. Brown in the valleys and snow in the hills. If I need snow, I can get to it easy enough. Last year at this time, as in the northeast this year, we ended the winter at 67% above normal for snowpack. I vividly remember when I first got out of the service in 1968 cruising timber in that fifteen feet of snow and -20 degree temps. O.K. when you're young, and good for an old man's stories, but not for a steady diet. I agree with Bird Dog. Every year is different and nothing can be done about it.
I look forward to the Redwings coming back as the true harbinger of Spring. The addition of their cheery calls to the bright and hardy chickadees in the yard helps to sweep away the oppressiveness of the interminable gray days of winter.
Here in SE Michigan, the first Redwings I saw were yesterday as well. Been watching them arrive for a good decade now - usually around March 1. I think last year - our worst winter in recent memory - they showed up around March 5.