During winter, the possibility exists that a transient flock of birds may suddenly appear at a feeder and dominate the local seed supply for several weeks before exiting the area. The presence of a mob of gluttonous evening grosbeaks, redpolls or purple finches can quickly decimate a mass of sunflower seeds, leaving little for the regulars like chickadees, nuthatches, and an occasional blue jay or cardinal. [Read more…] about The Pine Siskin in Winter
While most natural winter sounds tend to carry only short distances, there is one that is loud enough to travel well over a hundred yards.
Even when the limbs and boughs are coated with an audio-absorbing layer of snow, the voice of the pileated woodpecker periodically breaks the silence and resounds through our mature woodlands. [Read more…] about Pileated Woodpeckers: Denizens Of Our Old Forests
Most of the invertebrates that populate this climatic zone are well suited to deal with sudden thaws in winter by experiencing a type of dormancy known as diapause.
In summer, when temperatures are ideal and there is an abundance of food, the countless species of bugs continually eat and then reproduce. But as environmental conditions begin to change, most species prepare for that time when food eventually vanishes and when temperatures cause the transition of water into ice. [Read more…] about Diapause: How Insects Survive A Winter Thaw
With plenty of snow on the ground and a full moon on Saturday, this weekend promises to be one of those occasions when enough natural light will exist to venture outside and explore the nocturnal side of nature.
Taking a night time stroll can be quite exciting, especially during the latter part of February, as this is the time of year when the yelps and howls of the coyote, that signals the onset of its mating season, can often be heard. Likewise, both the red and gray fox will soon be entering their breeding periods, and their vocalizations may also break the stillness of the night.
With its long legs, the white-tail deer has the ability to travel through a snow bound forest when there is up to 12 to 16 inches on the ground. As the snow pack becomes denser, crusted, or deeper, the mobility of this hoofed creature becomes greatly restricted. [Read more…] about Deep Snow And White-Tail Deer Mortality
Among these hardy invertebrates, and the ones that are quite conspicuous to anyone that spends time working in the yard, garden or on the wood pile, are the harvestmen, known to most as the daddy-longlegs. [Read more…] about Daddy Longlegs During Winter
From the onset of November, periods of mild weather become fewer and further between; however, there are always occasions when hats and coats can be left in the closet, and the fire in the woodstove can be allowed to die out for a day or two.
It’s during such balmy spells when several species of hardy moths take to the air and can be seen after dusk fluttering around a porch light or a window next to a lamp. These small, drab gray insects are all closely related, belonging to the Geometridae family of animals, and are best typified by the fall cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria). [Read more…] about That Late Season Moth: Fall Cankerworm
Early autumn is the time fog frequently shrouds valleys in the morning, and a heavy dew regularly coats unprotected surfaces for several hours after sunrise. As the atmosphere begins to cool with the change in seasons, moist conditions often develop at night and can continue well after dawn.
This is ideal for our various terrestrial amphibians, which require damp surroundings for their survival. Among the members of these moisture sensitive vertebrates is the red-spotted newt, a unique form of salamander that goes on the move as the foliage changes color. [Read more…] about Red-Spotted Newts In Autumn
All mammals that employ the use of a shelter in winter instinctively attempt to find a place completely hidden from the view of humans for their home, except for one.
When the time comes in late summer or early autumn for establishing a protective enclosure for the coming season of cold, ice and snow, only the beaver places its residence in a spot that can be readily noticed by a person passing through the area. [Read more…] about Beavers Are Building Their Lodges
As many birds prepare to abandon their summer ranges at this time of year, others are altering their routine to allow them to better survive winter. The regular appearance of numerous, year-round avian residents around homes and camps suggests that the behaviors of these hardy species do not change from one season to another. [Read more…] about Black-Capped Chickadees: Our Year Round Residents