March 6-7, 2023. The March Full “Worm” Moon
As Spring blows in across the Northern Hemisphere, liquifying the last bits of ice and snow, rainbow-colored water droplets begin to penetrate thawing ground. If you have hearing like Kat, you’d be able to detect a distinctive “unzipping” noise made by thirsty compacted soil as its pores open wide to receive the welcome runoff. All this soil soaking and swelling creates an underground uproar; hundreds of thousands of micro- and macroscopic critters wake from their winter slumber to get on with their important job of soil building.
The saying, “as the worm turns,” now assumes the literal meaning. Earthworms and their kin play a crucial role in soil development as they “worm” their way around under the earth’s surface.
Being a cat, Flambé’s found all this subterranean commotion deafening. And so has that robin. As the worms scurry about underground, Kat is searching for earplugs. The robin, however, is alert, cocking her head to pinpoint the precise location of her first juicy meal of the season.
Alas, Flambé’s not a connoisseur of earthworms, finding them too slippery and slimy for her taste. But still she watches the robin intently, hoping to pick up some clever hunting techniques for when the gophers and moles get a whiff of the first scent of Spring. Now that makes for an appetizing menu!
Does the early bird catch the worm? Does the subterranean Kat learn all she can from the robin before getting soaked in a flood of rainbow-colored water droplets? Do you believe there’s really cheese one the moon? If so, what variety of cheese would it be, and what type of cracker would make a perfect pairing?
While you ponder Flambé’s fate, the fate of the worm, and whether or not a robin can fly after eating such a humongous meal, here’s a bit about the March Full “Worm” Moon.
The peak illumination of the Full Moon this month occurs at 7:42 a.m. ET on March 7th. If you live somewhere where it’s still dark at that time, like me (5:42 a.m. MT), and you can rouse yourself from a warm bed, then you can catch the best glow on the 7th. Otherwise, if you don’t want to miss the event, look for the moonrise early evening on the 6th.
Did you know ……
If here’s a bit of rain in your forecast when the moon is still low in the sky, you might be lucky enough to spot the rare phenomenon known as a “moonbow.” Just like a solar rainbow (aka “sunbow” ???), a moonbow is created when moonlight (rather than sunlight) is refracted through water droplets in the air. Look quick, because moonbows can only appear when a full moon is within its first few hours after sunset.
Oh, and also …….
This March Full “Worm” Moon will look especially large as it rises over the horizon. This is because of the Moon Illusion, causing it to look bigger when near comparative objects on the horizon than it does when it’s high in the sky without references.
Why do we call the March Full Moon the “Worm” Moon?
The most obvious reason the March Full Moon is called the “Worm” Moon, refers to the appearance of earthworms that arrive in the Spring as soils warm up. This is a clear invitation to robins and other worm-noshing birds to feed ….. a sure sign of Spring!
Well, that’s part of the story. After a little more “digging” it was discovered that in the 1760s when Captain Jonathan Carver visited Native Americans, he wrote that they also called the March Full Moon the “Worm” Moon, but with a twist. The name “Worm” actually referred to beetle larvae which emerge from thawing tree bark and other winter hideouts around the time of the March Full Moon.
Other Names for the March Full Moon
The transition from Winter to Spring inspired many other names of the March Full Moon. The appearance (or reappearance) of certain animals was a sure sign of Spring. The March Full Moon was known to the Algonquin as the Eagle Moon; the Cree called it the Goose Moon; the Northern Ojibwe named it the Crow Comes Back Moon.
Referencing the signs of the Spring season prompted other names for the March Full Moon. The Sugar Moon (Ojibwe) marks the time of year when sugar maple sap starts to flow. The Wind Strong Moon (Pueblo) refers to the strong windy days common in Spring. The Sore Eyes Moon (Dakota, Lakota, Assiniboine) highlights the blinding rays of sunlight that reflect off late Winter’s melting snow.
Until next month and our next Full Moon, don’t forget to look up!
As always, Flambé invites you to follow her Zentangle-inspired antics (ZIAs) by visiting her page called Tangled Up, to see what trouble she always seems to find, past and present.
Beautiful, gorgeous pages, Barb! The Worm Moon will be a welcome sight, signaling that spring is on the way! The coyotes have been barking and yipping behind our home, we just heard the frog chorus getting warmed up and the Western Screech owl and Great Horned owls have been hooting for mates! Maybe we will have that moonbow here since rain is usually in the forecast, although I’m not likely to make it up that early to see it! I love how the different tribes attribute a name to the spring moon according to what they are seeing as signs of spring. I always associate the sounds of Canada Geese flying in a V overhead as the sounds of spring (and fall actually). Thanks for sharing!
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Thanks so much for the comments, Karen! I love hearing about your wildlife encounters so close to home. There definitely is spring on the way. Quicker for you, by the sound of it (cool! Frogs ….. I miss frogs!).
Thanks for following my full moon series. It’s always a learning experience for me.