Nesting Great Horned Owl in late winter, photographed by Daniel Mlodozeniec.

Here in Western New York, it is well known that we have bizarre winters. On any given weekend in February, we can be piled underneath feet of snow, or enjoy the outdoors in our shorts! Although Spring is an entire month away, the end of February is when we begin to see our first signs of this longed-for season, especially with warmer than usual winters. Often times, the arrival of our Red-Winged Blackbirds and their robotic calls signal to us that perhaps the end of winter is near. This isn’t the only change in the bird world we are noticing. Has anyone else noticed more American Robins hanging around us? Like Red-Winged Blackbirds, not all Robins migrate for the winter, but when the change in how many you see is this significant, you know some of our migrants have returned. Most excitingly, Great Horned Owls are well into their nesting season, and mothers will spend the frigid February days and nights incubating their precious eggs. We do not need to rely on just our eyes to make these discoveries. One of the most joyful signs that winter is slowly coming to an end is something that we can pickup, by ear. Northern Cardinals, Black-Capped Chickadees, and others have been singing around my bird feeders for the last several days now. In perhaps a matter of weeks, we may begin to hear our first Spring Peepers and other frogs! Also, within the last few days, I have noticed the first bit of green occasionally protruding from the forest floor. If one is observant and takes their time, these are but a few of the indications of change that can be observed. It is the end of February, we may have several frigid days in the near future, and perhaps even more snow! Nevertheless, these changes will only become more apparent as we inch our way towards Spring. This is an exciting time of year! Spring is so close, yet so far. We are seeing signs of it, but feeling temperatures that say other wise! Earth Spirit Public Programs are a great way to get a feel for this time of gradual transition. Check out these programs on our events page, we’d love to have you join us!

Recent Earth Spirit wildlife encounters.

Sandy

  • Ravens on UB North Campus
  • Singing Black-capped Chickadees
  • Highly vocal Barred Owls at the Cabin
  • Long-tailed Weasel tracks along a creek in the Boston Hills
  • A chubby Raccoon visiting the bird feeders.
  • 13 Wild Turkeys feeding under the Hemlocks at the Cabin

Daniel

  • A nesting pair of Great Horned Owls
  • An additional (probably) nesting pair of Great Horned Owls with Jon during a school program.  
  • Tracked a fisher in Cambria, NY
The Earliest Signs of Spring

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