Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Dressing for the Season

Posted by  //  October 14, 2020  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Leaves are falling and frost is on the way…sweater weather!  Time to break out our sleek boots, chunky-knit hats and cozy scarves.  As autumn gives way to winter, some animals are in the process of changing their wardrobe, too. 

Short-tailed weasels (‘ermines’) change their coats – literally!  Their pretty cinnamon-brown colored summer fur gives way to dazzling white in winter, an adaptation that provides excellent camouflage in the snow.  This is advantageous while hunting and helps weasels escape detection from larger predators.

White-tailed deer are shrugging off their summer coats, too.  Deer actually shed, or ‘molt’, their hair twice a year, once in spring and again in fall.  During these transition periods, they appear scruffy.  By early autumn, deer are starting to lose their red-brown fur; soon, they will be dressed in thick, gray-brown coats that keep them warm while enabling them to blend in with the winter landscape.

Have you noticed the goldfinches are turning from bright lemon-yellow to a drab olive-gray?  As their old summer feathers are pushed out by newly emerging plumage, these tiny year-round favorites are essentially changing into their winter clothes.  Now that breeding season is over, there is no need to be flashy — in fact, it behooves these tiny birds to remain obscure to help them survive the winter season.

Article & photo by Margie Manthey

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