Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Fall to Winter Wildlife

Posted by  //  September 26, 2022  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Another Summer has come and gone, but don’t mourn too deeply, as Autumn and Winter are spectacular seasons in our region.  Whether you’re leaf peeping or picking apples and pumpkins, or enjoying a snowy landscape hiking, skiing or ice fishing, the wonders of nature abound.  

As September fades, blue jays announce their presence with brash calls.  The last brood of fledgling robins flit about, dining on fruits and late-season insects; a few still wear their speckled baby plumage.  Goldenrod grows prolifically along fields and roadsides.  It produces a brighter yellow bloom than ragweed and nourishes countless pollinators, while providing predatorial insects a place to hunt.  

Come October, watch for ruby-crowned kinglets and palm warblers, both late migrators.  Palm warblers forage in dogwoods and other low shrubs along trails and fields, flicking their tails as they go.  Hard mast nut crops and fungi of all shapes, sizes and colors feed a plethora of wildlife, like deer, bears, rabbits, hares, opossums, raccoons, chipmunks, mice and many birds.  Produced by Halley’s Comet dust, the Orionids meteor shower radiates near the constellation Orion.  It is slated to peak on October 21 and 22, when shooting stars will streak across the dark sky between midnight and dawn.  

November’s nakedness allows us glimpses of pileated woodpeckers and red-tailed hawks.  Meanwhile, smaller birds like white-breasted nuthatches, chickadees and tufted titmice rove about in mixed flocks.  Folks offering a well-stocked bird feeder will enjoy the cheerful activity these winged sprites bring to a dreary day.  Graceful white-tailed deer, engaged in the annual rut, are dressed in somber gray winter coats, their silent silhouettes almost ghostlike on foggy mornings.

As Winter takes the reins and deeper snowfalls blanket the ground, a snug quiet envelops the landscape and nature seems subdued; but while some creatures hibernate, many are still actively on the go.  A vibrant red fox against the snow is breathtaking to behold.  Appreciate the wonder of a colorful fish pulled through a dark hole in the lake ice, or a bald eagle gliding over a stretch of open water.  Look for tracks left in the snow by meandering wild turkeys, grouse, deer, foxes, fishers, and squirrels.  Their calling cards remind us that life goes on, leading us closer to springtime, one step at a time…

Article & photo by Margie Manthey

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