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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The heat wave expected to begin today comes toward the end of an unsettled spring. But the long term trend is warmer, sooner.

It’s not just Diane Husic, chair of Biology at Moravian College, saying that spring arrives earlier these days — it’s nature itself.

“I had about nine individuals that had birding records that go back to the 1960’s. They chose 17 forested bird species and in that time period from the late 1960’s to now, what we found is that all of those species come back between one and three weeks earlier.”

She approaches “why” gingerly.

“Pennsylvania is one of the states that there’s some resistance to talking about climate change. When people say, hey, you know I noticed something different in my back yard. This plant used to bloom in whatever, May, and now I see it blooming in April. How come?”

The Eastern Pennsylvania Phenology Project, phenology meaning, the study of perioic life cycle events, began in 2010, collecting data from nature centers, schools, parks and individuals about when spring has sprung among plants, birds and insects.

For more information on the study, visit http://lgnc.org/research/phenology

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