Poor Will's Almanack: February 19 - 25, 2013

Feb 19, 2013

Credit Flickr Creative Commons user andrewprince001

Poor Will’s Almanack for the First Week of Early Spring.

Mountain bluebirds are returning to Yellowstone. Bald eagles are laying eggs. Ravens pair up for spring, frolicking as they court. Snow midges appear as the weather becomes milder along the mountain streams; they provide early food for birds and fish, which become more active as equinox approaches.

In southern California, the wildflower season is well underway in wetter years, with large white desert lilies in full bloom and bright purple sand verbena blossoming where moisture is adequate. Fields of daffodils are open in southern Georgia.

As temperatures warm with the advent of early spring, sap is running in the maples, partial to new and full-moon times. The ground should soon reach 35 degrees, the temperature at which earthworms become active. And between the third week of February and the middle of March, sandhill cranes often pass through southwestern Ohio on their way north to nesting sites, and grackles join the starlings at feeders across the Lower Midwest.

Killdeer, rusty blackbirds, and canvasback ducks are arriving in the Midwest as farmers plant their sweet corn along the Gulf coast. Throughout Georgia, bee season has started. Honeybees and carpenter bees collect pollen from dandelions, yellow-flowered wild radishes, red maples, blue toadflax, white clover and mouse-eared chickweed. Azaleas are blooming in Alabama. In the lowlands of Mississippi, swamp buttercups, violets and black medic are open. All across the deserts of the Southwest, wildflower season has begun.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Early Spring. In the meantime, keep looking: everything you see could be a sign of spring.