A week-by-week look at what is happening in nature.
A special thanks to Virginia Barlow’s Ginny’s Calendar in Northern Woodlands Magazine.
Look for golden crowned kinglets hanging from hemlock cones and hovering at the tips of twigs / The seeds of Jerusalem artichoke (having nothing to do with Jerusalem or artichokes), a small, yellow sunflower, are eaten by birds / Shaking the tall, straight stalks of mullein will release a shower of tiny, black seeds on the snow / On cold nights, ruffed grouse plunge into deep snow.
Bear cubs are now about five months old and weigh around 10 pounds / Spring beauty flowers are opening, a few days after hepaticas begin to bloom / Shiny, varnished-looking egg masses of eastern tent caterpillar, usually on the twigs of rose family members, begin to hatch / A wood thrush may sing as many as 20 different songs / Look for spider webs in flowering birches. Some spiders eat the nutritious birch pollen grains after snaring them in their sticky nets
If you find a half eaten mouse or small bird impaled on a hawthorn, you’ve found the work of a northern shrike / The early morning songs of cardinals become more frequent and intense as the cardinal breeding season approaches / Meadow voles breed almost all year ‘round. Fortunately, they are eaten year-round, too, and are the major food now of hawks and owls / Single male pileated woodpeckers drum frequently. Their loud drumming diminishes at the end
Early robins are getting worms, where the ground has thawed / Raccoons go wandering on the warmer nights and may not end up in the den they started from / Buttonbush seed heads often stay intact through the winter. Spring floods will carry the floating seeds to new shores / Chickadees begin the songs that help establish their breeding territories. Spring is in the air / Common goldeneyes and common mergansers can be seen on ice-free sections of large rivers