Here in Philadelphia…March 2022
The Great Backyard Bird Count
I participated in the Count from the comfort of my own home. It was bitter cold outside and I couldn’t stand going outside for more than a few minutes. Why stand outside for fifteen minutes to count the birds at my feeders when I could just as well be warm in the house?
On a side note: This past Wednesday had a high temperature of was 60°F. The next day the high was 40°F.
To prepare for the count I filled up the feeders the night before. I counted in the mornings when there was plenty of activity.
I counted mostly House Sparrows, European Starlings, one Northern Robin, and a Northern Cardinal.
Starlings now also gather in a tree on the next street over. The new tree they gather in is so tall I can see it from my bedroom window.
At least twenty Starlings still perch in the remaining Catalpa tree outside my bedroom window. There are at least thirty in the tree in the next street over. Their beaks are already changed colors for the spring breeding season. The yellow beaks reflect the morning Sun. Their beaks are dark black in winter.
The Robins Are Back from the Woodlands
In the Philadelphia area the Robins winter in the woodlands. I see Robins gathered in small flocks, here and there. I saw about eight beside the road, puffed up and and squatting on the ground. I was driving and couldn’t tell if they were males or females. I have noticed in the past that if I see a small flock it is usually all female or all male. The colors of rusty-red breast and slate gray back and dark gray heads were so viivd, I think the birds were males.
I think the males emerge from the woods before the female,s to claim or reclaim nesting territory. The male and female Robins look very much alike but males have a dark, dark gray almost black head. Females have heads a more uniform gray like the feathers on their backs.
The Snowdrops are in Bloom
The Snowdrops are back in full force in my garden. They started blooming about February 1st. They are a little past their peak and beginning to wane. Once the Snowdrops begin to bloom I know to start the seeds for the early spring kitchen garden. I’ve started mustard greens, chard, parsley, shallots, and Blue Salvia. Phenology at work. Snowdrops = start the seeds for mid March planting.
Did You Know?
Most winter resident birds don’t change their plumage colors? These birds remain the same colors and patterns for the entire year. The colors may brighten like the red of the male Northern Cardinal. The beaks of Starlings change from dark black during winter to bright yellow with the arrival of breeding season.
Most birds replace their plumage at least once a year.Year round resident birds grow new feathers, but the feathers are the similar colors and patterns as before. They replace their feathers after the nesting season is over.
Resource: Birds in Winter: Surviving the Most Challenging Season by Roger F. Pasquier on Amazon.com.
(I may earn a commission for Amazon purchases using the links. This does not affect the price you pay.)
The Nature Almanac for March 2022
Season Dates – Spring Equinox March 20th at 11:33 a.m. EDT
See also: Spring Starts from the Ground Up
What to Observe, Draw, and Photograph Right Now
- Buds and blossoms on trees
- Observe nesting behavior in resident birds
- Put out nesting materials
- Set up a birdhouse
- Birds sporting spring breeding plumage
- Male Northern Cardinal – the red should be brighter and more uniform – How a Cardinal Makes HIs Red Feathers
- Learn to tell male Robins form female Robins.
- Start practicing phenology.
- Start a Seasonal Round
In the Sky This Month, March 2022:
- New Worm Moon – March 2nd
- First Quarter Worm Moon – March 10th
- Full Worm Moon – March 18th
- Last Quarter Worm Moon – March 25th
This month’s Moon is called the Worm Moon. It is when worm-like insect larvae emerge from their winter hibernation and diapause. The larvae emerge from beneath tree bark or deep in the soil among other places.
- New moon always rises near sunrise
- First Quarter near noon
- Full Moon always rises near sunset
- Winter Full Moons are high in the sky
- Last Quarter near midnight
- Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day
“March 24th to 26th look for a triangle in the sky formed by Mars on the right, Saturn on the left, and Venus on top. On the 28th the waning crescent Moon will dangle below the triangles remnant. Venus is brighter than the others, Saturn is brighter than Mars.” (2022 Old Farmer’s Almanac)
Venus will appear as a bright morning star in March.
Citizen Science Events to Participate In – March 2022
That’s it for this issue of the almanac. Look for the April issue at the end of March.