The first official day of spring is March 20 although it is sometimes difficult to decide when spring truly arrives in Southwest Florida.
William Dunson, Gasparilla Gazette Nature Walk columnist, declares spring is officially here when the purple martins return from wintering in South America (especially the Amazon basin).
"I was thrilled to see two martins actually checking out the martin condo put up by Abbie Banks and other volunteers at Wildflower Preserve," Dunson said. "There was an adult male and an adult female."
The house attracted breeders last year but a rat snake intruded, he said. A snake and predator baffle has been installed.
" Martins are social among themselves and like to live near people, repaying them by consuming large numbers of insects and putting on a pleasing aerial display every day," Dunson said. "So put up a bird condo and enjoy the results."