catbird winter n Also catbird (cool) spell, ~ weather, ~ winter spell chiefly sAppalachians Cf blackberry winter n, whippoorwill winter n
A cold spell in spring associated with the return of migrating catbirds.
1954 Asheville Citizen–Times (NC) 17 May /6 neTN, Since Pink Baldwin quit us, we can’t rightly say whether this is the “dogwood winter,” “blackberry winter,” or the “catbird winter,” but it falls short of any kind of pleasant spring weather for a fact! 1961 GA Mag. Apr-May 9 nGA, A cold spell in the late spring caused us to enquire of a neighbor: “What kind of winter is this we’re having? ‘Blackberry winter’ is over and it’s too early for ‘dogwood winter’?” He replied: “This is ‘cat-bird winter’. You’ll notice all the cat-birds come back each year in just such a cold spell as this.” 1962 in 1974 Miller News Pigeon Roost 17 May nwNC, An old timer the other day told me about a catbird winter. First time I ever heard of it. He said that’s what that cold pinching spell was, about two weeks ago, “Catbird winter spell.” Really, it was about the time the first catbirds arrived back from their winter’s staying place. 1963 Bee (Danville VA) 13 May sec A 1/2, Catbird Weather Brings Shivers Following Heat—Old-timers will tell you that Danville’s sudden chilly weather is the “catbird cool spell.” And to prove it, they note that this weekend was when they first started hearing catbirds this season. Ibid 2/3, Official records back up the old-timers, however, about the likelihood of a “catbird spell” at this time of year. 1986 Asheville Citizen–Times (NC) 29 Apr West Neighbors sec 8/2, He predicted to the day when our recent cold spell, known in the mountains as “catbird winter,” hit the area.