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Signs of Spring in NYC Parks

Staten Island Chuck, NYC's resident groundhog at the Staten Island Zoo, predicted early spring! Our parks are already seeing signs of the coming season ahead of spring's official start on March 20. Here are some early signs of spring to look for:

Snowdrops

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. This year, we spotted snowdrops in Central Park and Prospect Park during the first week of February, and at the High Line just after Valentine's Day. (Photo courtesy of Friends of the High Line)

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 at our very own Sweetbay Magnolia Preserve

NYBG's Orchid Show

New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show

The New York Botanical Garden ushers in spring every year with the return of the orchid show. This year's Thailand theme will feature vanda orchids, largely popular in Thai gardens and homes. The show kicks off on February 18 and runs through April 9. More info

The Crocus

crocus at Wave Hill

The crocus is one of the first spring bulbs to pop up in some of our parks. Last year, 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)

crocus

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

The Delacorte Clock 

Delacorte Clock

This musical clock is a favorite stop for kids walking by the Central Park Zoo. Check out the Delacorte Clock's spring playlist, which features songs like "Easter Parade" and "Younger than Springtime". The spring playlist starts March 2. Songs play on the half hour. 

Spring Forward: Daylight Savings Time

Sunset at Hunters Point South Park

On Sunday, March 12, 2017, time springs forward one hour. This means more daylight hours and later sunsets!

Magnolias

Magnolias in Central Park

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

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.

red-tailed hawk

And it's not uncommon to see aerial courtship displays by red-tailed hawks in the beginning of spring.

ospreys in a nest high up on a pole

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

Daffodils

Daffodil

New York City's official flower is no stranger to spring's bright colors. Last year, Madison Square Park Conservancy spotted a daffodil in the park one week before spring started. 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)

Forest Park Greenhouse

Forest Park Greenhouses

Each year, the Forest Park Greenhouse plants thousands of flowers at parks and gardens in Brooklyn and Queens. Take a tour of the Forest Park Greenhouse

Salamanders

Salamander

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)

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch

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.

GreenThumb's Annual GrowTogether Conference

gardening

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 25, come to GreenThumb's full day of gardening workshops led by experts at our community gardens. More information

Baseball and cricket 

Heritage Field

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

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