The harbinger of spring has arrived to "sing away the snow"

Two golden plovers were seen in Eyrarbakki and one in …

Two golden plovers were seen in Eyrarbakki and one in Sandgerði this week. mbl.is/Ómar Óskarsson

The Golden plover has arrived in Iceland, but traditionally the bird is seen as the harbinger of spring and summer. This is confirmed by bird expert Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson at mbl.is, with three golden plovers spotted in Eyrarbakki yesterday and one in Sandgerði.

“It’s the norm for the past few years. You’re always expecting it in the last week of March,” Hilmarsson says.

“Migratory birds have been docking up in the last few days, despite the northern wind and cold weather. One the northern wind eases the birds will start to pour into the country, and more are sure to be expected this week.”

"Singing away the snow"

He says it is certainly interesting that the golden plover has reached the southern part of Iceland, where everything is now submerged in snow.

“It’s already here to sing away the snow, but next Wednesday’s the temperature is expected to rise. As a general rule migratory birds are arriving earlier now, because of climate warming. For example, the geese are arriving two weeks earlier than in the 1990s.”

The 19th century poet Páll Ólafsson wrote a poem about the golden plover coming to "sing away the snow" which was made into a song and it has been sung in Iceland ever since.

Here is one version of the song:


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