|Cedar waxwing - MDC|
Although January marks the start of a new year, February is when new life begins to pick up. The MDC Calendar reminds us of all the excitement in the valley. Cedar waxwings are stripping away the last of the cedar berries as we write.
|Coyote- MDC Noppadol Paothong|
Romance is in the air for lots of mammals. Woodchucks, mink, squirrels, rabbits and opossum are all mating. Squashed skunks are especially noticeable later in the month, found dead on the roads, either crossing in search of love or suicidal from a failed romance.
|Upland chorus frog - MDC|
The salamander may well be serenaded by the romantic song of upland chorus frogs, a sound that has been compared to a fingernail scraped along a comb. These hardy souls are the first frogs to start singing and reproducing in Missouri.
|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."