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Signs of Spring in NYC Parks

Spring officially starts on Sunday, March 20. Here's to warmer temperatures, later sunsets, and blooming parks.

Spring Migration

bird nest

As springtime nears, our parklands welcome warblers and many other songbirds migrating into the city. The Ramble, a 36-acre wild garden in the middle of Central Park, is a favorite among birders for spotting spring migrants.

piping plover

In early spring, piping plovers arrive on Rockaway Beach to court and nest. And it's not uncommon to see aerial courtship displays by red-tailed hawks in the beginning of spring. Ospreys also return to our parks in early spring to mate. These majestic birds mate for life and build their nests along coastlines, usually in very tall trees, and on light poles and utility poles.

Visit our Birding in NYC Parks page to find some of the best places to go birding in the city, or go birding with an expert at these birding events


Snowdrops at Wave Hill

As winter comes to an end, snowdrops emerge out of the frozen ground as one of the earliest signs of spring. In 2016, we spotted snowdrops on the High Line and in Central Park in mid-February. (Photo courtesy of Friends of the High Line)

The crocus

crocus at Wave Hill

The crocus is one of the first spring bulbs to pop up in some of our parks. In 2016, this beauty was first spotted in Wave Hill's wild garden during the third week of February. A few days later, our friends at the High Line spotted blooming crocuses in the park. (Photo courtesy of Wave Hill)


The cup-shaped flower vary in color: lilac, mauve, yellow, and white are most common. 

Spring Forward: Daylight Savings Time

Sunset at Hunters Point South Park

On Sunday, March 13, time sprang forward one hour. This means more daylight hours and later sunsets.

Monarch butterflies


When the weather warms up, usually in March, monarchs come out of hibernation and mate. After mating, they begin their trip to southern United States to lay their eggs on milkweed. Spot them in our gardens and among roadside plants.


Magnolias in Central Park

This year, the saucer and star magnolia trees in Central Park started blooming one week ahead of spring. 

NYBG's Orchid Show

New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show

The New York Botanical Garden ushers in spring with the return of the orchid show. This year's Orchidelirium exhibition, which runs through April 17. Orchid show info

The Delacorte Clock chimes spring tunes

Delacorte Clock

This musical clock is a favorite stop for kids walking through the southern end of Central Park, near the zoo. Check out the Delacorte Clock's spring playlist, including songs like "Easter Parade" and "Younger than Springtime" on the half hour. 

GreenThumb's Annual GrowTogether Conference


When's spring's in the air our green thumb starts to wiggle even more. Thinking about starting a garden or looking to improve your own? On March 19, come to GreenThumb's full day of gardening workshops led by experts at our community gardens. More information

Our greenhouses gear up for flower plantings

Forest Park Greenhouses

Last year, we planted geraniums (left) and begonias (right) again at our gardens and parks around the city. Take a tour of the Forest Park Greenhouse



Salamanders congregate for a few days in early spring to mate and lay eggs in vernal pools. It is then a race against time for the aquatic, gilled larvae to transform into land-dwelling adults before the water dries in late summer. (Photo: Susan Stanley/NYC Parks)

Atlantic Coast leopard frogs

The Atlantic Leopard Frog

One of the first signs of spring in NYC is the cough-like breeding call of the newly-discovered Atlantic Coast leopard frog. This species was first recognized in Staten Island's freshwater marshes. Atlantic Coast leopard frogs live in northwest Staten Island, including in our own Sweetbay Magnolia Preserve in Staten Island Industrial Park



New York City's official flower is no stranger to spring's bright colors. This year, Madison Square Park Conservancy spotted a daffodil in the park one week before spring starts. Wondering why there are so many daffodils around the city? In 2007, the daffodil was named the official flower of NYC in recognition of the Daffodil Project, a citywide initiative with New Yorkers for Parks to plant millions of daffodils as a living memorial of hope after the tragedies of September 11. (Photo credit: Madison Square Park Conservancy)

Baseball and cricket fields come alive

Heritage Field

Let the games begin! Find out where you can use a baseball field or cricket field in our parks. 

Spring blooms in NYC Parks

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Our parks look so lovely dressed in spring. In a few weeks, our trees and gardens will blossom into pretty pinks and bright greens. Visit our Spring Blooms page to see highlights of past springs. Then, check out our Flowering Trees page to learn more about trees that bloom in the spring. 

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