April Phenology 2013: Spring has Sprung

Written by Phenology Team
    Tuesday, 02 April 2013
April Phenology 2013:  Spring has Sprung

For some, the word Phenology is a relatively elusive word that doesn't immediately bring anything to mind. Considering that it's derived from Greek word phaino, meaning to show or appear, you might guess that spring is a great time to begin practicing this fun activity. April is an important month for Phenology because it marks the appearance of so many friends of field and forest that seem long lost over the cold winter months.

Menomonee Valley - Flying Critters

by Lainet Garcia-Rivera 

Brown BatThey are waking up, they are coming soon, they are flying during the night, their movements are smooth.

The bats will come out of hibernation once the temperature is high and stable to gorge themselves on bugs.  Once you see a bat, rest assured, spring is here - no more snow, no more temperatures below 32F, no more nights without bats!

Help us track bat phenology in the Valley by joining our volunteer bat squad. Contact Anne Reis This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

Washington Park - Ah, the Sweet Songs of Spring

by Tim Vargo

As an ornithologist, I naturally gravitate to birds to mark spring's return.  At Washington Park, birds slowly trickle in until the phenological event I anticipate most happens... ice melt on the lagoon.  Once this happens - look out!  Herons, grebes, kingfishers, ducks, sandpipers and other water birds come flooding in!

Great Blue Heron

Look for these on your own or join our Wednesday Morning Birdwalks.

Wood Duck - must be seen to be believed

Belted Kingfisher - The emphatic rattle call precedes a bill-first dive for fish

Great Blue Heron: stately and elegant...  whose call sounds like a cat choking on a furball.

Riverside Park - Fluttering in the Forest

by Matt Flower

Red Admiral Butterfly 2In a spring forest, colors other than ash gray, brown and tan tend to stand out and catch your eye.  There are three colorful friends you might see on a walk through Riverside Park

Mourning Cloak Butterfly - you may see adult, overwintered males resting in sunny patches on the forest floor.

Red Admiral Butterfly - the quick, erratic flight and flash of its red band of color will be sure to catch your eye.

Question Mark Butterfly - the soft orange glow and cryptic camouflage of this spring butterfly make it a favorite among naturalists.  


Like a compelling novel, we all love a good introduction and spring never ceases to disappoint.  From field to forest to stream, the month of April marks the beginning of a new year of flora and fauna that reminds us of our place in nature and why we love to love it.

Phenology Team

Phenology Team

The Phenology Team is made up of representatives from the Center’s three branches: Matt Flower, Environmental Educator, Tim Vargo, Manager of Research and Citizen Science, and Lainet Garcia-Rivera, Community Program Coordinator. Each month they provide guidance on which phenological events to look for, and how you can follow the changes of nature’s calendar!


Email Sign-Up


* indicates required
Which Emails would you like to receive?

Connect Now

facebook instagram 2018 2 twitter linkedin

Get Involved

Become a member today!