n SIGNS OF SPRING Look out for bluebells, daffodils and the songthrush
ARE signs of spring appearing earlier and earlier every year?
To find out, scientists are seeking the public's help to note seasonal changes and the effects of global warming.
The Spring Into Science campaign is calling on people to note the date they spotted the first traditional signs of the changing season.
It could be the first cuckoo, songthrush or tadpole of the year, or budding bluebells and daffodils.
The project is run by the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Woodland Trust .
"Keeping track of nature's calendar, the timing of the seasons, is fun, easy and free. Anyone can be a recorder," said trust spokeswoman Jill Attenborough.
Tim Melling, conservation officer for the RSPB in Kirklees, keeps records dating back decades.
"There's no wholescale shift. General warming is causing that little bit of creep forward," he said.
Mr Melling said there had been a creep forward of a week to 10 days over the past 15 years, with spring arriving slightly earlier.
He said warm snaps should not be seen as announcing the coming of spring, because they could be followed by harsh, wintry spells.
"Temporary warm spells can sometimes fool the resident birds into thinking it's the breeding season.
"Sometimes they start singing and find a mate," he added.
But a return to winter can happen virtually overnight.
To find out how to take part in the study, log on to www.the-ba.net/nsw