Text Size: A  A  A

Chesapeake Bay News

Mar
12
2012

Five signs of spring in the Chesapeake Bay region

If last week’s sixty-degree days weren’t enough to convince you that winter has bid us farewell and spring is just around the corner, these harbingers of the changing seasons surely will! Take a look around your  backyard, community or local park for these five telltale signs of spring in the Chesapeake Bay region.

1. Spring peepers are peeping

northern spring peeper

(Image courtesy bbodjack/Flickr)

If you happen to live near a pond or wetland, you may be accustomed to hearing a chorus of “peeps” in early spring. The northern spring peeper is one of the first to breed in spring. This small amphibian’s mating call is described as a “peep,” but it can be almost deafening when hundreds of frogs sing in one location.

2. Daffodils are blooming

daffodils

(Image courtesy bobtravis/Flickr)

These yellow beauties are the first bulb plants to pop up each March, sometimes emerging through melting snow and always signaling warmer weather ahead. Any gardener will tell you there’s no way to tell exactly when daffodils will bloom, but they seem to pop up almost overnight. A website tracks photos and reports of the first daffodil sightings each year around the world.

If you can’t get enough of these buttercup blooms, head over to the American Daffodil Society’s National Convention in April in Baltimore.

3. Bees fly in

honeybee

(Image courtesy Martin LaBar/Flickr)

Where there are flowers, bees should follow – but native bee populations have fallen rapidly in recent years. Find out how you can make your yard a bee haven and help give bees a home! (Don’t worry – most of the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s native bees don’t sting!)

A bee-friendly backyard will benefit you and your garden: bees pollinate plants and crops, a service that’s worth millions each year to our economy.

4. Woodcocks dance

“PEENT! PEENT!” The mating call of the American woodcock may be a familiar sound if you stroll through in open forests this time of year. Males put on an elaborate show most evenings in early spring. After repeated “peents,” he flies upward in a spiral, reaching a height of about 300 feet. Then he begins chirping as he dives back down in a zig-zag pattern, landing right next to his chosen female.

Read how renowned nature writer Aldo Leopold described the woodcock mating ritual in A Sand County Almanac.

5. Skunk cabbage emerges

skunk cabbage

(Image courtesy Lynette S./Flickr)

This bright green, large-leaved wetland plant that appears in early spring may actually help melt leftover snowfall. Skunk cabbage generates temperatures up to 59-95 degrees above the air temperature, allowing the plant to literally break through frozen ground and sprout when temperatures are still too cold for other plants to sprout.

The plant’s foul odor attracts pollinators, including flies and bees, and discourages predators.

author
About Caitlin Finnerty - Caitlin Finnerty is the Communications Staffer at the Chesapeake Research Consortium and Chesapeake Bay Program. Caitlin grew up digging for dinosaur bones and making mud pies in Harrisburg, Pa. Her fine arts degree landed her environmental field work jobs everywhere from Oregon to Maryland. Now settled in Baltimore, she is eagerly expecting her first child while creating an urban garden oasis on her cement patio.


Keywords: birds, weather, spring, plants

Comments:

Comment

indianapolis lauren from virginia says:
March 16, 2012

lovely.  Thank you for a tranquil moment.



Post A Comment:






Categories

Archives

410 Severn Avenue / Suite 112
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY / Fax: (410) 267-5777
Directions to the Bay Program Office
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
©2012 Chesapeake Bay Program | All Rights Reserved