Spring is on its Way

Spring is on its Way


Spring is on its way. Longer days filled with sunshine and warmer weather will be here soon. The changing seasons is an opportunity for Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art members to get outside and enjoy our beautiful nature preserves. For the ardent observer, signs of changes have been occurring for weeks now. Here are a few that our staff has observed recently reminding us spring will be here before we know it:

  • On sunny days, painted turtles have been observed sunning on logs in ponds.
  • Reptiles and amphibians are emerging from their hibernaculum.
  • Other amphibians found have been seen in vernal pools breeding and laying eggs. These temporary patches of water are the sites of newly formed salamander eggs and tadpoles. The eggs will hatch in just a few short months and salamander tadpoles will begin their metamorphosis.


  • Spring Peepers, American Toads and Wood Frogs have been spotted. They are generally the first to emerge and call.
  • Streams hold Dusky, Northern-two lined and Northern Red Salamanders.
  • Tufted titmouse and Carolina Chickadees are singing loudly.
  • Red-tailed hawks have paired up and are building nesting sites that are selected high in large trees. Great-horned owls are sitting on eggs now.
  • Mourning Doves are the first songbird to nest and have been observed courting one another and beginning to build a nest at Waterloo Mills Preserve. 



  • Pine Warblers and Eastern Phoebe will be some of the first migrant songbirds to arrive. They’ll be here any day now.
  • Wood ducks arrived recently as well with the majestic drakes grouped together awaiting the arrival of the hen birds.
  • Witch-hazel and other spring ephemerals are about to bloom.
  • Red Maples will be budding soon.

Perhaps the most telling arrival of spring is the American woodcock. The males will do a unique courtship display at dusk where the wings of the bird seem to whistle. The bird will “peent” often then fly high into the air only to descend in a spiraling fashion down to the original take off spot. This unique courtship gives the bird an unusual nickname, otherwise known as timberdoodle. Here is a video one of our staff members caught of a bird “peenting” at Waterloo Mills.

When visiting the Laurels and Waterloo Mills preserves, one of the many exciting benefits of Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art membership, take note of all the activity indicating spring is arriving. Enjoy the longer days and share your unique encounters by tagging us in your pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Happy hiking!  

Photos by Kevin Fryberger and John Goodall