Did You See That?
Are you observant?
Phe-nol-o-gy is the study of changes in plants and animals as they respond to weather, climate, and the seasons.
Each spring we anxiously await the first returning robin in the hope of warmer weather.
That is a phenological event.
It happens every year but the return date depends a lot on the weather.
Migration and flowering are two more examples of phenological events.
Look around for the following seasonal/phenological changes...
- Last call for migrants: watch for swans, hawks, Canada geese, mallards, loons and cedar waxwings heading south. Tundra swans are one of the last waterfowl to migrate and can sometimes be seen along the Mississippi River early in the month.
- While some birds head out of the state as winter approaches, the dark-eyed junco arrives. Put out a bird feeder and you can watch birds all winter.
- Watch for common redpolls to arrive in northern Wisconsin.
- November marks the time that white-tailed deer bucks are in "rut."
- Snowshoe hares exchange their dull brown coats for a thicker white one.
- Slugs and snails have burrowed into moist marsh soil for the winter.
- Wild turkeys are busy eating acorns and fruits of trees like maple, ash, pine, and beech.
- Watch for ice to appear on lakes. Let us know when the ice forms on your local lake, river, or bay.
- Gray squirrels fatten up on acorns in preparation for winter.
- Black bears begin settling into dens for a long winter's nap. Learn how some animals spend the winter snug in the snow.