The month of March, here in our neck of the woods, is often a contradiction of wild winter weather and sunny spring-like days. The sap is running and maple sugaring businesses are boiling around the clock. And even though we celebrate the Vernal Equinox on the 20 th , we may not actually see signs of spring for weeks to come. One of the first plants to respond to the very first indications of thawing is the pussy willow shrub. Look for its shoots showing up in ditches or wetlands. Male robins and bluebirds come early to stake out territory and good nesting habitats and are a clue warmer weather may be on the horizon. You may see them eating sumac berries, their least favorite food, which they saved for last. Other birds to listen for are the unique calls of the woodcock and the grouse. Humans often mistake grouse drumming for an engine of some sort. Many owl and hawk species begin nesting in March. Their calls and increased activity can be noted near woods and meadows. Other tell-tales of spring are the subtle changes in the tree buds. Look for them to get fuller and fuller. Also noteworthy is the white ermine. It begins showing the first hint of changing to its summer coats with a little brown around the eyes and mouth. March is a great month to get outside and begin looking for all these wonders and signs!

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