Wisconsin's Mild Spring Affecting Plant, Bird Species


If Wisconsin residents have noticed some bird and plant species showing up earlier than normal this year, they have company among some local scientists.

For many years, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Stan Temple has been tracking seasonal changes in plant and animal life. This field of science, called phenology, might be as warm as the weather right now. Temple said birds, like sandhill cranes and turkey vultures, have flown north to Wisconsin at the second- or third-earliest date in the last century.

Likewise, Temple said some plants are coming up well ahead of schedule.

“So, you know, things are a few days behind the record pace of 2012, but not far,” he said.

But Temple said that early or false spring of 2012 was a bit of a trap. He said he remembers a cold snap came along and destroyed blossoms on some fruit trees and wrecked some fruit crops. Temple said that could happen this year, too.