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...
- Look for blooming purple coneflower, prairie dock, and compass plants in Wisconsin prairies.
- Cicadas and katydids sing on warm summer days. Male katydids call by rubbing their legs over their rasped and ridged wings like a fiddle and bow. They can be found in trees feeding on cherry, oak, maple, and apple trees.
- Monarch butterflies are feeding on blooming milkweed plants.
- Black raspberries and blackberries ripen along fencerows. Berries are plucked for a meal by hungry chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, fox, skunk, black bears, birds, and people!
- Young toads emerge.
- Loons are commonly seen and heard on northern lakes.
- Gypsy moth larvae, alien invaders, reach maturity and eat leaves from trees.
- Northern pike and muskellunge fingerlings (young) leave wetlands for open water.
- Young spiders scatter by casting their long-spun threads into the air from tree tops, riding the wind to new locations.
- Fireflies are out in full force lighting up the night.
- July brings hot temperatures and lots of sunshine. Don't forget your suntan lotion.