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More Early Signs of Spring

This time of year, you might find yourself looking to the gray skies and asking out loud, “WHEN? When will it be Spring?” You’re not alone. By mid-February, the infatuation with fluffy snows and chunky sweaters gives way to fantasies of grassy lawns and bare feet for many of us here in Minnesota. If you’re among those looking for signs of warmer days to come, here’s a list, compiled from Jim Gilbert’s February and March Phenologies:

European Starling's beaks turn yellow in Spring
European Starling’s beaks turn yellow in Spring

February Signs of Spring:

  • Bald Eagle nesting season has already begun (early February)
  • Common Ravens are beginning their courtship flights (early February)
  • Red foxes enter their mating season (early February)
  • American Goldfinches are starting to show some new, bright yellow feathers (early February)
  • European Starlings’ bills are beginning to turn yellow (early February)
  • Greenhouse plants are beginning to emerge from dormancy (early February)
  • The last of the dried leaves clinging to oak trees are falling (mid February)
  • Birds are starting to sing again, such as cardinals and chickadees
  • Great Horned Owls are nesting
  • Horned Larks return (late Feb)

March Signs of Spring:

  • March 1st marks the first day of meteorological spring
  • Mourning Doves, American Robins and Dark-eyed Juncos  begin to sing (early March)
  • Migrating Canada Geese return (early March)
  • Pussy willow catkins are out (mid March)
  • Wood Ducks, Eastern Bluebirds and Killdeer arrive mid-March
  • Sandhill Cranes and American Woodcocks arrive mid to late March
  • Maple sap begins to run late March
  • Fox Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds and Tree Swallows arrive (late March)

Spring DaffodilsIf you can’t wait for the flowers and smells of a full-blown Spring, there are some fun local options coming up for a next-to-the-best-thing experience:

Macy’s Flower Show: March 20-April 3, 2016

Como Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show in the sunken garden: March 19–April 24

Art in Bloom at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts: April 28–May 1, 2016