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Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
 
 
Sunday, November 10, 2002
 
Saw a whitetail doe browsing near my house yesterday - eating leaves from a deciduous tree. With the snow cover we had then, there wasn't a lot of food available for the deer.

Today, most of the snow has melted and the temperatures are more seasonable. This will give the birds and mammals a better chance to fatten up for the winter.
 
 
Saturday, November 9, 2002
 
When I was out walking today, I heard the pecking of a woodpecker. And there it was on a tree about 8 feet from me - a hairy woodpecker.

Usually, when I'm that close to a hairy woodpecker, it will go hide on the other side of the tree. But this one didn't seem to notice me at all. I stayed and watched for quite a while as it busily looked for insects.
Photo ©   
Mike Danzenbaker
  
Friday, November 8, 2002
 

In years when there's not much food available - or when there's early snow cover, the black bear tends to retreat to its den earlier than usual. At this point, it takes the bear more energy to forage for food than the energy it gets from the food. So denning up and slowing down its metabolism is a good strategy.

I don't put out my birdfeeders when the bears are still roaming around. But since there is already snow cover, I decided yesterday to put one of them out.

This morning when I woke up there were two chickadees on the railing of my balcony. One chickadee flew up and sat on the edge of a window pane with a sunflower seed in its mouth. It looked a me for a moment, then flew off.

It was so sweet to see - as if it were thanking me for putting out the birdfeeder. More likely it was just being curious, which chickadees tend to be. But I like my version of it better.

 
 
Thurday, November 7, 2002
 
Blue JayHave been hearing the blue jays the last couple of mornings - and only in the morning. I hadn't heard them for a week or so. I wonder why they come when they do.

I'm fascinated by the rhythm of the comings and goings of the different birds, mammals, and other creatures.
Some of those rhythms have to do with Photo © Don DesJardin
seasonal movements, defending of Click to enlarge
territory, avoiding predators, breeding, and
availability of food sources. But there seem to
be subtler rhythms that I can't yet fathom.
 
 
Wednesday, November 6, 2002
 
We got about six inches of snow last night. Think this is the fourth time we've had snow this year - which is unusual. And, since there are still leaves on some trees, those trees were really bowed over and some limbs broke off.

Have been hearing the barred owl again lately. Think I saw one fly away as I was coming up the driveway today - but I didn't get a good enough look to be sure.
 
 
Tuesday, November 5, 2002
 

Southern Flying SquirrelI've never seen a flying squirrel. Most people haven't, since this mammal is mainly nocturnal.

Sometimes I hear a little thump on the roof during the night and wonder ... could it be a flying

squirrel? They have been know to Photo © David Blevins    
use roofs as landing points. Click to enlarge    
 
Flying squirrels, like the southern flying squirrel in this photo, do not actually fly but instead glide through the air. They have a fold of skin between each arm and leg which, when extended, becomes like a sail. They've been said to glide distances of over 150 feet.
 
 
Monday, November 4, 2002
 

Breeding season, known as "the rut," has begun for the white-tailed deer. In New England, breeding usually begins around the end of October and peaks around the middle of November. However, some young whitetail does won't breed until December.

 
Before the rut begins, the whitetail bucks have already established their dominance hierarchy. This minimizes - though it doesn't eliminate - aggression during the rut, thus conserving the bucks' energy for breeding and for the winter ahead.
 
 
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