A European Golden Plover, the migrating bird, said to be the harbinger of spring in Iceland, has been sighted. Never mind the snow, it’s springtime now!

According to Icelandic news outlet mbl.is a woman, Hjördís Davíðsdóttir, saw three Plovers on Stokkseyrarfjara Beach on Iceland’s south coast, Thursday last week. She snapped a photo of one of them, and it made the news, as the Plover does each year. 

See also: 3-Day South Coast Tour in Iceland


There it is! Photo: Hjördís Davíðsdóttir

Icelanders await the Plover’s arrival with feverish excitement each year. The European or Eurasian Golden Plover is a migrating bird, and her arrival is a clear indicator that the seasons are changing. Winters in Iceland can be very harsh, and this little bird brings with it the promise of a better time.

This year some might think the Plover is ushering in the spring a little early since Iceland is covered in snow at the moment. However, it was sighted on the exact same day, 28th of March, last year. Which is a few days later than the average year. 

See also: Wildlife and Animals in Iceland

Reykjavík city covered in snow.

The view of Reykjavík today.

In a famous poem by Páll Ólafsson (1827-1905), the Plover is said to have not only the ability to banish the snow but also boredom and she tells the people of Iceland off for being lazy during the cold, dark winter months. Sassy.

The European Golden Plover is a small bird even though she’s one of the largest kinds of Plover there is. Her most distinguishing feature is the white s-shaped line going from her head to her sides, framing her face and chest.

The reason I refer to the Plover as female is that its name in Icelandic, Lóa, is also a popular woman’s name in Iceland. In fact, there are 366 women named Lóa in the country. Which means about 0.1% of the population is named after our spring fling queen. 

See also: 10 Questions About Icelandic Names Answered

Our golden girl is said to bring the spring to our frozen little island. She also brings the noise, the Golden Plover has a very distinct call, a slightly melancholic melody, the sound of which is synonymous with summer to Icelanders.

We welcome our dear herald of springtime and look forward to longer days and warmer weather.