Jan 13 2009
We’re immersed in winter but nature is still busy outdoors.
Chuck Tague published his “What To Look For” phenology for mid-to-late January, so get ready to brave the cold. Here’s a hint of what to expect in southwestern Pennsylvania. Click here for Chuck’s complete list.
- Great horned owls are nesting now. Listen for owls hooting to establish territory and make contact.
- Red-tailed hawks are courting too. Watch for pairs soaring together and calling.
- Songbirds begin to sing again: northern cardinals, song sparrows, carolina wrens and tufted titmice.
- Winter finches are still here. I’m hoping for an evening grosbeak.
- As the northern lakes freeze over, watch for unusual gulls on Pittsburgh’s rivers.
- Foxes and raccoons are breeding.
- The days are getting longer. Since December 21st, we’ve gained 18 minutes of daylight in the afternoon – but we’ve lost some in the morning. By the end of January daytime will be 10 hours long!
- Don’t forget to look for tracks in the snow.
As Chuck says, “During winter expect the unexpected.” I agree! There’s more to see than you’d think.
(close-up of a Great Horned Owl by Chuck Tague)