Nature of New England

Photos and information about birds, mammals, butterflies & wildflowers

Seasons of Nature in New England
- Late Spring -

  • Around the middle of April, the first ruby-throated hummingbirds will arrive in New England. They have migrated from their winter range, which is concentrated between central Mexico and northern Panama. Many of them cross the Gulf of Mexico during their migration.

    The males usually precede the females by about a week. Since they arrive before the flowering of most hummingbird nectar plants, these tiny birds take advantage of the sap from "sap wells" drilled by the yellow-bellied sapsucker.
  • The red maple is one of the first trees to flower in the spring - usually by the 3rd or 4th week of April. Their red flowers will sometimes appear earlier, depending upon the weather. Individual trees may have all male flowers, all female flowers, or both.
  • Many early migrating warblers - including the yellow-rumped warbler, northern waterthrush, and pine warbler - have arrived in New England by the 3rd or 4th week in April.

    The peak of the warbler migration generally occurs during the first few weeks of May. Males usually arrive at the breeding range about a week before the females.
  • The flight period of the Spring Azure usually begins around the end of April. This butterfly can be found in open wooded areas, forest edges, old fields, and brushy areas.

    The Brown Elfin's flight period begins around the same time and extends into early June. Their favored habitats are mixed forests, pine barrens, and acid bogs.
  • Many wildflowers bloom during this period. The early spring wildflowers bloom before the trees leaf out and cut off the sunlight. Among the early bloomers are coltsfoot and Dutchman's breeches.
  • Most years, trees leaf out by the 1st or 2nd week of May, depending upon the weather and temperature. Ash trees are among the last to leaf out.
  • In New England, the breeding calls of the spring peepers continue to be heard until about the end of May. Each female lays up to 1000 eggs - either singly or in small clusters. The eggs hatch into tadpoles within about a week.
  • Many mammals give birth during this period, including raccoons, skunks, opossums, and minks.
  • The first white-tailed deer fawns are born in late May. Mature white-tailed does usually give birth to twins, although triplets are not uncommon if the doe is very well-nourished.

    Within several hours after birth, the doe finds separate hiding places for her fawns. She returns to them several times each day to groom them and to nurse them. After each visit, she moves the fawn to a new hiding spot. This behavior helps protect the fawns from predators.

Note:  The "late spring" period is the time from approximately mid-April through the end of May. Timing of events will vary depending upon your latitude and elevation.

Seasons of Nature in New England Archives

White-tailed buck

Rough-legged Hawk

For Dinosaur Lovers - Young and Old:

Dinosaur Drawings

    Photo credits: © S. Byland,© S. D. Bower, © Troy Bartlet, art-today, © B. Macqueen, USFWS