Nature
8:35 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Poor Will's Almanack: January 8 - 14, 2013

Credit Flickr Creative Commons user hart_curt

Poor Will’s Almanack for the Second Week of Deep Winter.

Although winter may seem long and gray, its progress unravels the warmth of spring, and the year’s natural calendar contains markers which offer reassurance that the passage of Gregorian days will really and truly bring change.

Just a few days from now, on January 11, the sun rises earlier all along the 40th Parallel for the first time since the middle of June.

On January 26: Cardinals begin their spring mating songs before sunrise, and deep winter ends.

January 28: Average temperatures start to rise one degree per week almost everywhere in the United States.

On or about February 1: Doves call after sunrise.

February 2: The first snowdrops could blossom in the sun.

On February 14, red-winged blackbirds arrive in northern swamps.

February 18 is winter's Cross Quarter Day, the date that the sun reaches halfway to equinox.The sun is halfway to equinox. And this is the average date for the start of early spring, a six-week period that gradually brings the landscape to life.

On February 22: The day's length reaches eleven hours for the first time since October.

By March 4: Pussy willows are usually completely open.

And by March 8: Earliest daffodils bloom and gold finches start turning gold.

On March 11: Honeysuckle leaves are opening.

March 20 is spring equinox

And a few days later, you will see cabbage butterflies out looking for nectar

On March 31: The first hepatica, bloodroot, bluebells, Dutchman's britches, twinleaf and toothwort all come into bloom, and then you know it’s spring for sure.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the Third Week of Deep Winter. In the meantime, be on the lookout. Some of the signs could be early this year.

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