biodiversity homepage      

Observations by Gary Fewless for Green Bay WI (Lat.N 44.51° Long. W 88.02° ), except as noted. For flowers lacking conspicuous petals or sepals I define "anthesis" as release of pollen by mature anthers.

February 2000

Observations by Gary Fewless, except as noted

Date Observation (Click on links for photos)
Feb 29 First chipmunk out and about. City of Green Bay
Feb 26

Fresh earthworm castings. This site is bare soil along a sidewalk on UW-Green Bay so it warms up faster than the general landscape. Fields nearby are still frozen, although most areas in full sun are free of snow.

Red-winged Blackbirds return in flocks. We have had smaller numbers of returning redwings for several days--the mild winter probably allowed them to remain close. On the 26th hundreds of redwings returned to my reference site, a large marsh along the East River which I have observed since 1986.

Feb 25 Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) has begun to flower! This is the only species in our area (and one of very few anywhere) that can actually generate significant heat -- sometimes melting the snow around the flower. The individuals that grow in "springs" are the earliest because the soil doesn't freeze there. Other individuals of this species that are not in springs may not flower for another month or more. Skunk cabbage flowers produce an odor that is similar to rotting meat, which attracts insects that are looking for carrion. The insects become unwitting pollinators of skunk cabbage when they come to investigate the odor.
Feb 23 Warm weather continues, now aided by rain. Tom Erdman reports a few Red-winged Blackbirds in Atkinson's Marsh. We have a few "feeder" redwings in Green Bay, but they mostly stay near the feeders. The snow is rapidly receding. Numerous phenological events will follow quickly if the warmth continues, as it is predicted to do for the next week or so. Don't be deceived, however, we almost always get significant snowfall again after this first clearing of the winter snow cover. Last year most of the winter snow cover was gone by February 11 when we reached a high temperature of 58! Welater had 1.5 inches of snow February 24 and 3.4 inches on March 9.
Feb 21 Cofrin Arboretum, Prairie Pond
An abrupt warming began with temps into the 40's. Robins, a few of which remained in Green Bay all winter, are now appearing in greater numbers suggesting that some birds are returning already. Large numbers of Horned Larks have been noted in local fields, although they too may remain in our area to some extent during winter. Skunks are emerging and Cardinals and House Finches are notably vocal now.

© 2001-2004 The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity and the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, All Rights Reserved
Last updated on May 20, 2015