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Spring Forward

Warmer climates accelerate life cycles of plants, animals

11:21am, March 4, 2003

Ever since the winter solstice last Dec. 22, the days have been getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere and the noonday sun has climbed higher in the sky. These are nature's biggest cues that spring is nigh. As warmth gradually returns to the northern temperate latitudes, so do the birds that migrated south last autumn. Once back, they establish territories, make their nests, breed, and fledge their young. Meanwhile, bulbs and seeds sprout, trees bud, and insects emerge and start consuming the tender foliage. Plankton proliferates in lakes and ocean shallows, whereupon larval fish and seabirds begin their feeding frenzies.

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