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Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
 
 
Sunday, February 16, 2003
 
Here's a change of pace - a website about caves. This site describes the different types of caves and their features. It includes photos and illustrations. Enjoy!
 
 
Saturday, February 15, 2003
 
Staghorn SumacThis is a leafless staghorn sumac with the silhouettes of some deciduous trees in the background.

Since the fruit of the sumac remains on the tree until early spring, it is an important food source for many birds during the late winter.
 
Friday, February 14, 2003
 
We had about four inches of snow yesterday but when I went out for a walk, I saw no new tracks in the snow.

Later in the day, I did see two deer browsing under the pine trees behind the house. That area under the pines seems to be a favorite spot for many animals - in summer and winter.

In the past, a bear, a moose, a fisher, red foxes, deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, porcupines, woodchucks, and many different birds have made an appearance there.
 
 
Thursday, February 13, 2003
 
Tufted TitmouseThe tufted titmouse is becoming more vocal lately. This morning it was making its whistling call and also making a quieter more raspy call. There might have been two titmice, but I wasn't awake enough to tell.

Also, a couple of mornings ago, two black-capped chickadees were calling back and forth with their "fee-bee" song.

With the temperature hovering around
10 degrees today and going down to
-10 tonight, I'm glad to have some indication
that spring is coming!
 
 
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
 
The mating season for the coyote generally peaks around the middle of February. But I haven't heard any coyote "duets" this year. Since I've been hearing the yipping recently, I was hoping to hear them sing also.

Several years ago, I heard a coyote "duet." The coyotes weren't close to the house, but I could hear them clearly. First one would give a beautiful howl - what I call "singing" - and then the other would respond. And then back to the first. At times, they both would sing together. It was incredible!

The performance was repeated a few days later and I've been hoping for an encore ever since.
 
 
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
 

Red SquirrelHere's the latest report on the squirrels that visit my bird feeder. Today there were three gray squirrels and two red squirrels vying for a position under the feeder.

One of the gray squirrels kept chasing another one away - the first time I'd seen a gray being aggressive toward another gray.

The red squirrels - one of which is in the

photo on the right - were mostly staying in
the background. Once in a while, one of the
reds would race toward the feeder, grab a seed and run away. But they were clearly outnumbered.
 
 
Monday, February 10, 2003
 
This morning I heard a woodpecker drumming. (Think it was a hairy woodpecker, but it could have been a downy.) Then I heard another woodpecker responding - drumming on a tree that gave a different pitch. They drummed back and forth for a bit, but I didn't hear any calls to help me identify the birds.

Today is the first time this winter I've heard two woodpeckers drumming in reponse to each other. This may mark the beginning of territorial or courtship activities for these particular birds. Or it could be that they were previously drumming elsewhere and I didn't hear it.
 
 
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