Written By Joshua VanBrakle.

Posted on February 16th, 2016.

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Ok, we may not technically be there yet, but as we come into March, there’s no question that spring is on its way. The days are getting longer, the average temperature is rising, and I am slowly emerging from hibernation to get ready for one of the best times of year to be in the woods.

Ok, we may not technically be there yet, but as we come into March, there’s no question that spring is on its way. The days are getting longer, the average temperature is rising, and I am slowly emerging from hibernation to get ready for one of the best times of year to be in the woods.

What makes early spring such a great time to be outside? Before the leaves emerge on the trees, you can see a lot of woodland sights otherwise invisible for most of the year. Many wildflowers emerge and bloom during this time, taking advantage of all the sunlight hitting the ground. That light will go away by May and June as new tree leaves hog it all.

Early spring is also an ideal time to see birds. The migratory birds will be returning and singing as they look for mates, and without leaves in the canopy, it’s a lot easier to spot them. I’ve been working on learning my bird calls all winter, and I’m excited to get out and put that practice to the test.

eastern bluebird

Early spring is a great time to look for birds in leafless trees and shrubs. One of the first arrivals in our area is the eastern bluebird. Photo credit: National Park Service

There are some drawbacks to the warming weather. As temperatures rise above freezing, be alert for ticks, which will once again be active and searching for a meal. These tiny critters can cause a bunch of illnesses in humans, the most well-known being Lyme disease. As you venture out, it’s important to be aware of ticks and how to protect yourself from them.

tick

Whenever the temperature gets above freezing, deer ticks like this one become active and can potentially transmit Lyme disease to people by biting them. Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

In the coming weeks, look to MyWoodlot for advice on these topics and more. We’ve already added a new activity, Learn Bird Calls, to help get you ready for when the spring migrants arrive. As for ticks, over the next month we’ll be expanding our library with information like how to identify different kinds of ticks, ways to reduce your chances of being bitten, and even a place where you can send your favorite outdoor clothing to have it made tick repellent.

Winter’s just about over, and spring is just about here. Get out there and enjoy all the sights and sounds this wonderful time of year has to offer!


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