Spring Already?

Top Photo: Male hooded merganser swims past a bale of turtles out basking on a warm February afternoon.

Basking turtles, excavating nuthatches, blooming honeysuckle, sunning anoles, and mating hawks, all a part of the spring to come.

Sliders come out on every available sunny winter day to bask, but they were out in force on a sunny 70 degree day this week.


Brown-headed nuthatches commence cavity construction in soft-wood trees each February. They excavate many more holes than they use for nesting. It may be that the males are digging as many cavities as possible in hopes a female will choose theirs rather than a rival’s cavity.

Brown-headed nuthatch stands beside its work.

Regardless their intentions, most of the cavities are not used by the little dynamos themselves and are taken over by chickadees, titmice, or other cavity nesters.

There are at least four excavations started here.

I associate coral honeysuckle with April, not February. One vine is blooming now!

Coral honeysuckle.

Green anoles have been seen in every month of the year at the museum. They will, though, be more active in the coming weeks.

Green anole coming out to sun itself.

If you’ve been walking the outdoor loop through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind, you have surely heard the loud raucous calls of our red-shouldered hawks above you. Though very vocal through most of the year, they are especially noisy now, the breeding season.

The photo below was taken seconds after copulation in a cottonwood tree on the north side of the wetlands.

Red-shouldered hawk pair.

Things are moving fast in the outdoors. Get outside now and experience it yourself.

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