What Makes It Really Spring?

My dear friend, Cecily, wrote this lovely piece about what makes it spring. With the weather here in the DC area having gone from summer temperatures, to snow, to light jacket weather, to frost this morning, I really needed a refresher on how to spot it. Thanks, Cecily, for your lovely post!

Cecily Nabors

Scientifically speaking, the first day of spring is the vernal equinox, when day and night are of equal length. However, a naturalist may have a more personal definition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For some, spring officially starts when the streaky red hoods of skunk cabbage poke out of a bog. For others, it’s when catkins of bloom dangle from birches, or when chimes of spring peepers ring out, or when bluebells adorn moist woodlands. I’ve sometimes declared it to be spring when I found my first Jack-in-the-pulpits, or a jaunty display of Dutchmen’s breeches, or the pristine white petals of bloodroot.

For many birders, though, Official Spring is marked by the return of an eagerly awaited avian migrant. When a special bird reappears, we feel that the great cycle of life is continuing as it should. And if the birds fulfill their promise to come back, surely we have an added chance at life…

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