Great tit and yellow crocuses
© Nataba/Getty Image
No flower better signals the start of spring than crocuses, early bloomers that come in Easter egg colors such as purple, lavender, orange, pink, and yellow. Crocuses are perennial, flowering bulbs that are built for toughness. As you can see, the plants are able to endure frost and even snow because their flowers and leaves are protected by a waxy cuticle. That's why the first blooms you see in spring are often crocuses. They can grow in a variety of environments, even in the high elevations of the alpine tundra above the tree line.
While other blooms are still slumbering, crocuses are up and at 'em. Naturally, they are magnets for brave bees and birds, like this great tit coming in for a snow-covered landing. The birds are widespread and common in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia—and they know a sure sign of spring when they see one.