A number of springtime birds are starting to show up on bird feeders near you, but the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is still quite several weeks out from making there way to the Upper Midwest. According to Journey North, there have been reports as far north as Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Amazing Hummingbird Migration
Did you know that hummingbirds migrate from Central America? Amazingly, they make there way to the Yucatan Peninsula in February and then cross the Gulf of Mexico! Unreal!!
"Ruby-throats do not travel in flocks during hummingbird migration. Instead, each bird follows its own instincts on appropriate departure times and routes. Scientists believe that each hummingbird begins its migration in response to environmental triggers. One trigger is the changing level and angle of sunlight. Another trigger is believed to be a drop in available natural food. As these signals continue to activate, the hummingbird makes its preparations and eventually departs. On their northward trip, most have reached Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula by February. In this lush jungle, they begin to feast on insects as they prepare for one of the toughest migrations for any bird. Each year, thousands of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly over the open water of the Gulf of Mexico rather than follow the longer shoreline route. These brave little birds will fly non-stop up to 500 miles to reach U.S. shores. It takes approximately 18-22 hours to complete this amazing solitary flight. Some hummingbirds aren’t strong enough, though, as many oil riggers and fishing boat crews can attest. Every year, exhausted Ruby-throated Hummingbirds take temporary refuge on offshore oil rigs and boats floating in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. These birds rest a while before bravely launching back into their flight across the open water."
Spring Leaf Index
According to the USA National Phenology Network, the spring leaf index shows spring creeping north. The red colors indicate that spring leaves have been emerging earlier than normal, while the blue indicates that spring leaves have emerged later than normal. It was a later than normal start to the season across the Gulf Coast States, but across the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley, things are off to an earlier start. Keep in mind that the average bloom date for lilacs in the Twin Cities is around May 10th, so we still have a ways to go, but it's coming!
Garden 2018 Update
Local gardeners are well on their way to starting their 2018 garden! Indoor seed starting continues as we head into the end of March and if you started any seeds back in February or early march, you're probably starting to see a lot of progress in your indoor greenhouses. The geraniums, Pentunias and Peppers that I started on the 13th of March have sprouted and are doing quite well. Tomato seeds were started on Friday and should start seeing some germinations within the next few days!
Starting Your Garden Indoors
The image below shows the suggested dates when and certain vegetable and flower seeds can be started indoors. As you can see, there are many seeds that can already be started, while a few others can wait until April. Such a fun time of the year!! Grow baby grow!!
Here's the latest modeled snow depth across the state, which shows our most recent snow event that dropped nearly 12" across parts of southern Minnesota. Snow depth across southeastern Minnesota and around the Twin Cities is pretty scarce. As of Saturday, there was just a trace of snow on the ground at the MSP Airport.
Extended Temperature Forecast
The extended forecast through the end of March and into early April suggests a fairly mild week ahead, especially midweek when temps could warm to near 50F! However, it appears that we'll quickly cool down into the 30s at the end of the month and into the first few days of April. Keep in mind that the average high at the end of March is 49F, so this will be quite a bit below normal.