|Cedar Waxwing- MDC|
The beginning of the month is a good time to think about the highlights of nature this week. The MDC Calendar is an excellent resource, available annually at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center.
Robins gather in large flocks, moving in groups of up to 50. Cedar waxwings will cluster on female red cedar trees, picking them clean of their berries (actually miniature cones) before flying off en mass, looking for another meal. They eat almost exclusively a variety of fruits such as hackberry in season. The good news is that cowbird chicks reared in their nests rarely survive, unable to tolerate the vegetarian diet.
|Coyote- MDC Noppadol Paothong|
|Upland chorus frog- MDC|
Witchhazel is blooming along Bull Creek. Its small blossoms on the leafless shrubs are easy to miss in the distance but well worth a hike to find them.
|Woodcock- MDC- Click to enlarge|
Woodcocks on the ground will make a buzzing insect-like call, referred to as a "peent," seen here in this Youtube video. Their camouflage blends in with the ground so your best chances to hear and see them is at dawn or dusk as with a dramatic flourish the males show off for females by giving loud, nasal peent calls and performing dazzling aerial displays. This and other cool facts are described on Allaboutbirds.org:
"He gives buzzy peent calls from a display area on the ground, then flies upward in a wide spiral. As he gets higher, his wings start to twitter. At a height of 200–350 feet the twittering becomes intermittent, and the bird starts to descend. He zigzags down, chirping as he goes, then lands silently (near a female, if she is present). Once on the ground, he resumes peenting and the display starts over again."