It may still not feel much like spring, depending on where you live, but phenology activity is happening across the country! According to our Status of Spring maps, which predict leaf-out and bloom of early-season plants, many of the locations where spring has already arrived were early this year. Check out the maps to see if your area was early or late, or see whether spring leaf-out or bloom are in your near future. 

Your observations of plant and animal phenology will help us understand how plants and animals are responding. Consider joining a Nature's Notebook campaign this year and track species of special interest to researchers and resource managers. 

Also, we have a new Twitter account, @USANPN! Follow us to stay on top of USA-NPN updates, new resources, and phenology information. 


What your data are telling us
How does calendar spring stack up to nature?

The Spring Equinox is the first day of astronomical spring. However, it doesn't often match up to plant and animal activity on the ground. We compared the Spring Equinox to the USA-NPN's First Leaf Index for Washington DC to see how calendar spring stacks up to nature in the capitol. The majority of years have seen spring leaf out occur days to weeks earlier than calendar "spring". 
Linking time-lapse images to observations 

To better link phenology data from time-lapse cameras and on-the-ground observations, authors of a new study in Ecosphere compared digital images of tree foliage color from spring to autumn to observations made using the USA-NPN protocols. The authors also found that chill and minimum temperature in autumn, drought stress in autumn, and heat stress in summer are all important factors to the timing of peak fall foliage color.
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Celebrating 10 years of Nature's Notebook

Throughout this year, we are celebrating 10 years of the USA National Phenology Network and data collection with Nature's Notebook.  This month, we feature the most frequently observed plant and animal on the Nature's Notebook list - red maple and American Robin.   

Learn more »
Pheno Forecasts predict pest activity near you

Our new  Pheno Forecast  maps show when management actions should be taken for five pest species including emerald ash borer, apple maggot, lilac bor er, hemlock woolly adelgid, and winter moth. These maps are updated daily and are available 6 days in the future.

Join a Nature's Notebook campaign this spring

This year, we have eight different campaigns for you to join, from tracking flowering of important plant for monarchs and other pollinators to tracking the emergence of mayflies along the Upper Mississippi. You will receive  info-rich emails with localized results and your data will  help researchers answer key questions. 

Learn more »
Recent happenings in the field
Photo: L. Scott Mills
Research Photo
Early spring causes phenological mismatch

A new article in the New York Times documents five examples of phenological mismatch caused by changing climate. Species differ in their ability to adapt to earlier spring temperatures, which can lead to mismatches between plants and their pollinators and animal foragers and their food sources. In the case of the snowshoe hare, earlier snow melt means hares with white winter coats are more visible to predators. 

Graphic from Climate Central
Longer growing season, longer allergy season

Over the last decades, last spring freeze is trending earlier and first fall freeze is coming later. A growing season may seem like a good thing in some respects, but unfortunately it means a longer season for allergy sufferers. 

Hermit Warbler,
Photo: Tom Grey
Spring birdsong shifting earlier

Authors of a new study in The Condor: Ornithology Applications studied the timing of song and other vocal activity in birds in Northern California. They found that Neotropical migrants may be less flexible than residents in adapting their phenology to changes in climate. The method of survey, which involved automated sound recorders, has potential to track shifts in elevation, population, and changes in breeding behaviors for many bird species.   

Nature's Notebook Nuggets
Photo: NCarlson
Tips for spring observations

We have two Nature's Notebook Nuggets that will help you with your spring observations. Catch Spring in the Act! covers how to pinpoint when your dormant winter buds turn into flowers buds or breaking leaf buds. The Challenge of Teeny Tiny Flowers helps you know when small, inconspicuous flowers are open and how to count them.

More ways to get involved
Celebrate National Citizen Science Day!

April 14th is National Citizen Science Day! We hope you will take time to celebrate yourselves for all of your efforts as a Nature's Notebook citizen scientist!  Find out about events planned across the country, or learn how to plan your own event. 

Learn more »
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator