Written By Roger Chambers
February is a cold winter month with an average monthly high of 35°F and low of 15°. The record low is -28°F on February 14, 1979, while temperatures of -10° to -20 are not unusual. February is a cold winter month with an average monthly high of 35°F and low of 15°. The record low is -28°F on February 14, 1979, while temperatures of -10° to -20 are not unusual.
Holidays and Observances in February
February 1: National Freedom Day; St. Brigid’s Day • February 2: Groundhog Day; Candlemas; Cross-Quarter Day of Imbolc • February 12: Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday • February 14: Valentine’s Day; Ash Wednesday • February 15: Susan B. Anthony Day • February 19: President’s Day • February 22: George Washington’s Birthday
Winter Birds and the Great Backyard Bird Count
For many years the Cornell School of Ornithology, Audubon Society, and other environmental and nature organizations have organized a Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) over the four days of Presidents’ Day Weekend, this year on February 16-19. Observations on this weekend over the past two decades have been made by thousands of ordinary people across the country and around the world and usually submitted electronically. This provides a near “real-time” picture of just what birds are where, providing important information on the range and numbers of different bird species. There are numerous field guides readily available at bookstores or online that help in bird identification.
It is easy to participate in the GBBC. Information is available at the GBBC website: http://gbbc.birdcount.org
Birds observed from 2004-2017 during February from our yard/feeders in East Utica
(indicates unusual or only occasional years )
*Canada Goose • *Cooper’s Hawk •*Bald Eagle • Downy Woodpecker • *Hairy Woodpecker • Mourning Dove •Rock Dove (Pigeon) •Blue Jay • AmericanCrow • Black-capped Chickadee • TuftedTitmouse • *Common Redpoll • white-breasted Nuthatch • *Red Breasted Nuthatch • American Robin • EuropeanStarling • Dark-eyed Junco • *Tree SparrowSong Sparrow • American Goldfinch • *House Finch • White Throated
Sparrow*Pine Siskin • Northern Cardinal • HouseSparrow • *Ring-billed Gull
In the Night Skies
Rising and setting times of the Sun, Moon, and visible planets on the cross-quarter day of February 2, known as Imbolc, Candlemas, and Groundhog Day
Sunrise: 7:13 A.M. • Sunset: 5:15 P.M. • Daylight of 10 h 1 m • Moonrise: 8:01 A.M. • Moonset: 8:40 A.M (Just past Full Moon) • Venus sets: 5:40 P.M. • Mars rises: 2:38 A.M. • Jupiter rises: 1:32 A.M. • Saturn rises: 5:00 A.M.
Moon Phases for February
As the Moon was full on January 31, there is no Full Moon this month, and the next one is the Full Worm Moon on March 1. February 7: Last Quarter • February 15: New Moon • February 23: First Quarter
There are increasing hours of daylight through February with 9 hours 59 minutes of daylight on February 1, gaining over an hour to 11 hours 12 minutes by the end of the month.
The PlanetsMars is brightening to magnitude 1 and is seen in the pre-dawn skies, low on the eastern horizon. The Moon is seen close to Mars on the 9th. Jupiter is the brightest “star” in the eastern skies in the early morning hours. Saturn becomes increasingly visible about 15° above the horizon just before dawn. It is poised so its rings are clearly visible with a modest telescope and in conjunction with a Crescent Moon on the 15th. As Venus becomes visible as an evening star, it is in conjunction with a Crescent Moon on the 16th.