February Phenology

Holy smokes! It is February 2023 and I have seemed to have misplaced an entire blogging year! Did you wonder where I was hiding? Last January I committed to posting monthly about the seasonal changes that occur in Wisconsin. After I committed myself, I was offered opportunities that made me reevaluate where my time, talent, and commitments were going to be held for the year.

2022 Was The Year Of Growth & Reevaluation

Made in Adobe Express. Adobe Express allows you to quickly and seamlessly brand content with your colors and logo on everything created.

Last year was a bounty of new and exciting endeavors. Two that I would like to share with you are, that I became an Adobe Brand advisor and took on work for a local nature preserve and its foundation – The Baird Creek Preservation Foundation for photographing events, and summer kids camps, as well as images for new signage going up in spring 2023.

I am extremely excited to see the new signage, I will post pics here when the signs are up.

Becoming an Adobe Brand Advisor has been a fun experience. One year in and I can state it has been a complementary union. Hoping that I am giving the company back as much as they have given me.

Last year’s endeavors taught me that life is about finding balance and just like phenology found in nature, I need to practice steady repetition in my life to flourish.

Last year was a year of learning, growth, and reevaluation. This year, I will take that growth and try to incorporate it into all portions of my life.

Now, let’s get to why you are here

What’s happening during February in our woodlands and with our wildlife?

February Average Temperatures

The seasonal norm is 27°F. with the minimum 16°F and the sunrises at about 7:14 central time and sets at 7:10 central time on February 1st. Each day after the first, you can subtract a minute from the time. February 2nd sunrise will be at 7:13 sunrise and the 3rd at 7:12. Extremely patterned, just how I like it.

Who’s Mating?

Let’s see who’s mating this month – our remaining great horned owls, bald eagles, and cottontail rabbits. The whitetail deer, beavers, river otters, coyotes, and early wild turkeys.

Mid-February through the first week of March the striped skunk and raccoon start roaming around looking for a mate. This may explain why one sees so many dead skunks and raccoons this time of year on country roadsides.

Raccoons start roaming around looking for a mate

February marks the start of coyote mating
River Otter – Mating End of Feb into the beginning of March

Skunk on the shoulder of the road.

Get Your Houses In Order

It’s time to get your houses in order and here is your to-do list for February. Clean out wood duck nesting boxes (wood ducks arrive around 26th), erect American Kestrel boxes, and clean out Eastern bluebird boxes (arrive about the 2nd week).

Bird House Plans

If you are going stir-crazy waiting for spring to arrive, how about building some birdhouses? The posts below have excellent instructions and visuals to help you accomplish this.

The Tall Texan
Built from a single 6 foot 1-inch x 4-inch fence board

Bluebird Birdhouse Plans – this classic birdhouse plan was designed for bluebirds, but the size is also attractive to wrens, titmice, chickadees, and other small birds…

Wren Birdhouse Plans – this classic birdhouse design is the perfect nesting place for wrens or house finches. It has a hinged roof for easy clean-out…

License Plate Birdhouse Plans – this design makes use of a standard US-sized license plate as the roof of a birdhouse. The perfect home for wrenstitmicefinches, sparrows, chickadees, and bluebirds.

Coming & Going

Starting around the second week of February we will see changes in our bird populations.

Eastern Bluebirds arrive starting the 2nd week of Feb.

American Robins return.
Song Sparrows arrive around the third week of February.

Over the course of this month, the horned larks will leave.
Sandhill cranes arrive anytime during the second week.

Search Water, Trees & Farm Fields

If you are out and about along any body of open water, look for more of our winter migrates of waterfowl. Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, and Red-breasted Mergansers are common sites. Search the trees, posts, and fields for snowy owls, barred owls, great gray owls, hawks, and eagles. Leafless trees will make spotting the birds easier. While scanning the farm fields keep a lookout for flocks of Lapland Longspurs and snow bunting.

Enjoy The Views

Get out and enjoy the views. I know the temps are a bit chilly right now but the landscape is beautiful and we only have a few more weeks before we start seeing wildflowers start popping up and warmer weather on the way.

More Animal Changes

Second Week: Turkey Vulture arrives, by the 22nd of the month, and be on the lookout for white-tailed deer antler sheds on your woodland walks.

Third Week & Later: By the third week all great horned owls are nesting, belted kingfishers arrive, wood ducks and red-winged blackbirds arrive around the 26th, and killdeer and eastern meadowlark around the 28th.

Get Out & Enjoy Winter

Plant Life Changes

Skunk Cabbage

If you are out in the woodland areas and notice a terrible smell, look for the skunk cabbage plant. It is one of our early bloomers in the woodland areas. Blooming as early as February and as late as March.

I bet you can guess why it is called that.

Silver Maple

Silver maples are typically the first trees to form leaf buds.

If we have warm February days be on the lookout for forming buds as early as February.

Sturgeon Spearing

The sturgeon spearing season for Lake Winnebago, Lake Poygan, Lake Winneconne, and Lake Butte des Morts opens in February and runs through usually the end of February, or until the harvest quota is reached.

Wishing those who received permits a safe and happy hunt.


Enjoy the month of February – Until next month friends, I wish you peace, health, and happiness!

Jan, Feb , Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov

The post was last updated in Jan 2023.

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