Today was a sunny day, and the birds think it’s spring. This morning I heard both a tufted titmouse and a white-throated sparrow singing. The white-throat was whistling softly and tentatively, as if trying to remember the words to a tune he hadn’t sung in a while: “Old…old Sam…old…old Sam Peeeaaa!”

The titmouse, on the other hand, was singing emphatically–so emphatically, in fact, I didn’t immediately notice the urgent whistles trickling through my barely-open bathroom window: “Peter! Peter! Peter!” It’s a song I hear constantly here in the suburbs in the spring and summer, but not now–not recently–so it was a jolt when my consciousness clicked to recognize it. Titmouse!

Then on this morning’s dogwalk, I saw a large shadow slice across the street, followed by soaring wings overhead: four turkey vultures circling over a neighbor’s house, roused from their roost when he took his elderly Shih Tzu outside.

“Are they coming for Patchy?” he worried.

“Oh, no,” I reassured. “Their beaks and feet are too weak to grasp and kill live prey, so they’re looking for roadkill.”

More alarming than a vulture’s appetite, though, is their very presence so early in the year. Mass Audubon tells me turkey vultures typically return to New England in March or maybe February, but here we are in late January, and at least some vultures have returned: another sign of a warming world where the birds think January is Spring.