NOTICING NATURE | 3 TIPS FOR MARCH
The snow is melting and spring is starting to show! Here are three things to find in March in Western North Carolina.
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
The Northern Cardinal is a beautiful species that is easy to spot year-round, as they do not migrate! The male is bright red, and the female is mostly brown with a red beak, tuft, and tail feathers. They have a very sweet mating ritual: the male bird will feed the female seeds beak to beak in order to win her favor. If he is successful, they will mate for life!
Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)
This common "weed" is an edible member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It's full of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and beta-carotine, and has a delicious, mild flavor similar to arugula. One of the big reasons that it spreads so easily is that its seed pods coil tight and then pop open quickly to propel seeds far and wide, just like jewelweed!
There may not be many leaves or flowers to look at right now, but it is a great time to look for mushrooms! With fewer leaves to hide behind mushrooms are easier to spot. Keep an eye out for logs and tree stumps. We even found some mushrooms growing inside of a dead tree!