Where The Wild Things Are - Spring is Coming!

So here we are, in the lion that is March. Still cold, still snowing. It is hard to imagine that spring will ever come, much less in a couple weeks. That being said, there are signs that it is on it's way. 

The chickadees have changed their calls from their normal "chickadee dee dee" to theirs spring calls of "fee bee". This call is used only by the males. They use it to communicate to other males their dominance and territory. So while we use it as a sign that spring can't be far away, they are gearing up to spring mating and nesting. 

Other birdy signs include the woodpeckers drumming. We have many species of woodpeckers around here and in the spring you will here the drumming of the Hairy, Downy, and Pileated. The juncos will be leaving soon, off for cooler climates to raise their young, while other migrants are working their way north.

Ducks and geese will soon be around, crowding around any open water they can find. They seem to push back the very edge of winter in their hurry to get north. The ice fishing houses need to be off the lakes now, indicating that the water is moving under the ice and soon it will be visible along edges and narrows. Creeks and rivers will be flowing. It doesn't take long to break apart even many inches of ice, between winds and melting.runoff.

The owls have mated and nested, and soon the eggs will hatch and round bundles of feathers will appear. Baby owls are soon easy to see, as they rapidly outgrow the nest. In a month they will be walking out on branches. Before they can fly they usually have to figure out how to climb back up to the nest after miss stepping and falling to other branches, or even the forest floor. The parents are very protective, but can do little if a larger predator attacks. If you see a nest, keep a good distance and use binoculars to observe. If you spook the adults away, crows have a good chance of seeing them, and either chasing them or attacking and killing the young. 

As the snow melts and the forest floor opens up, there will be already green leaves showing. A few plants, like the Round Lobed Hepatica, put out leaves in the fall that will help them capture the first rays of sunshine to support their very early blossoms. So, listen for the calls, look for the dripping of water, and sit in the sunshine as much as possible.Spring will come.