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...
- Wood frogs and spring peepers begin calling this month. Can you hear them?
- Ospreys return to Wisconsin from warmer southern states.
- Spring wildflowers bloom this month (we hope). Watch for pasqueflowers, hepatica, and marsh marigolds.
- Look for whooping cranes as they migrate north from Florida. Sandhill cranes return.
- At dusk and dawn, the male woodcock performs a spiral flight to court female birds.
- Raccoon kits are born in a hollow tree, cave, brush pile, or rock crevice.
- Trees leaf out.
- Keep an eye on the roads after the ground thaws and the weather warms. Salamanders are on the move during the first warm, hard, and long nighttime rain.
- During this time of year, many fish are moving about in Wisconsin's waters to spawn. Keep an eye out for walleye, smelt, northern pike, steelhead, suckers, and lake sturgeon at these fish watching hot spots.
- Listen as you visit a prairie for the sweet rolling trill that sounds like "Kip-ip-ip-ip-ip-ip." This means the upland plover is near.
- Karner blue butterfly larvae emerge from eggs and begin to feed on wild lupine.
- Listen for a drumming and booming sound in the woodlands and prairies. This is the peak time of year to hear the ruffed grouse "drum" and prairie chicken "boom."
- It's a great time to plant a tree. Remember that Arbor Day is April 25th.