Newsroom Midwest Region

Celebrating spring in your neighborhood

May 6, 2020

Tree swallow perched on a branch
Tree swallow perched on a branch. Photo by Jessica Bolser/USFWS.

Spring is in full swing! Brighter days are greeted with singing birds and blossoming flowers. Whether you’re a new wildlife watcher or a lifelong fan, spring is a great time to view and appreciate your neighborhood wildlife. How many of these wildlife neighbors have you noticed?

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Female ruby-throated hummingbird visits a flower
Female ruby-throated hummingbird. Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are one of the most common hummingbirds in North America, but they spend the winter in Central America. Males migrate north to establish territory before the females arrive. In the northern edge of their habitat, hummingbird feeders should be put out by May.

Yellow trout lilies

Yellow trout lily flower
Yellow trout lily. Photo by Bruce Hallman/USFWS.

Yellow trout lilies, one of the most common spring wildflowers, grow in colonies in damp soil under trees. They bloom between March and May. You’ll only see these beauties before trees leaf out and sunlight still reaches the ground.

Tree swallows

Tree swallows perched on a dead tree
Tree swallows perched on a dead tree. Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS.

Tree swallows are magnificent fliers and have returned to their summer habitat. You may see these communal birds chasing each other in a fight over a prized feather to line their nest. If you love watching swallows, consider putting up nest boxes to attract your own community of tree swallows to your yard.

Red-eared slider

Two red-eared sliders sunning on a log
Two red-eared sliders sunning on a log. Photo by Jessica Bolser/USFWS.

You may have seen turtles sun bathing earlier in the spring, but as early as May some species of turtles start looking for nesting sites. You may see turtles along paths and crossing roads. Red-eared sliders lay eggs in late spring and early summer.

Prairie trillium

Prairie trilium flower
Prairie trillium. Photo by Jessica Bolser/USFWS.

Name for its three purple petals, the prairie trillium has long living flowers that bloom from mid to late spring. Don’t be fooled by it’s name, this flower actually grows in wooded areas in states known for their prairies. This plant can also form colonies, so if you’ve got these flowers in your neighborhood you could enjoy these flowers for a three to four weeks!

If you live near woods, wetland, pond or prairie, you’d be surprised by the diversity of wild neighbors near you! All wildlife needs shelter, whether that’s a birdhouse or a shady spot for wildflowers. Learn how to add a native plant or pollinator garden to support wildlife in your neighborhood.