Thursday, March 26, 2009

Animals to Watch in Spring



Are you excited about spring’s arrival? I am. I’ve been watching for it for longer than I probably ought to. (Winter in Wisconsin, as you may have heard, seems interminable.)
Officially spring began on the Vernal Equinox, when the length of days and nights are the closest to equal because the tilt of the Earth's axis is virtually straight, neither leaning toward or away from the Sun.


The Vernal Equinox is usually March 20 or March 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, so that means it’s already behind us and each day is growing progressively longer.


Those of us who aren’t trying to gaze into the depth of the solar system or comparing the day-to-night length can search for other signs of spring. We look for animals.


1. Robins. When we spot one, we know that winter either has or will soon vanish.
2.Rabbits. You’ll probably notice them seeking bunny partners. It’s time to start a family.
3. Whooping Cranes. We seldom see them, but occasionally one or two wade in the pond nearby.
4. Bald Eagles. They, too, are rare in our parts, but in less densely populated areas of Wisconsin, close to a body of water that serves as a feeding grounds, to catch a glimpse of this majestic bird is not unusual.



5. Loons – if you’re fortunate enough to live on or near a lake.
6. Hummingbirds. These amazing creatures with their super-speedy wingbeat are returning to their Northern homes to build nests. My father tries to entice them with a hanging globe filled with red sugar water, with some success.
7.Gray Whales migrate, too. They return to their breeding grounds in spring. We don’t see many in Wisconsin (none, in fact) but we do dream of vacations on ocean shores.
8. Frogs.
9. Bears, awakening from hibernation. My brother who lives in Northern Wisconsin sometimes spots them.
10. Groundhogs awaken from hibernation, too, including Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania (for Groundhog Day).

11. Sea otters look for mates in spring. Sometimes biting noses to show attraction.
12. Foxes move about, and have kits.


13. And deer have fawns in spring.

In my backyard I have the pleasure of observing deer, wild turkeys, rabbits and robins. What animals do you watch? What animals do you associate with spring?

36 comments:

  1. No porcupines? My parents get 'em in their neck of the woods. Me, since I live in the concrete jungle, not so much.

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  2. spring peepers! I love their sound (yup, I know they're frogs) :-)

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  3. Don't forget the moose. In the next couple of months we will get them in the park by the river.

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  4. I always welcome the sound of bird song -- to me, THAT is the sign that spring is approaching. Phil can entertain others; I'll wait for the birds.

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  5. Sadly, most of the bunnies I see around here are roadkill.

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  6. We saw a robin just last week on one of those gorgeous days we had in Southern Ontario. I pray it means spring has sprung, but I'm hearing way too many stories of more snow coming. Yikes!
    Happy T13!

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  7. We don't have many native mammals here in NZ. I have to look at the plants and flowers to tell me it's spring.

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  8. Here in eastern Canada, we don't see robins until spring, either - but all winter we've had a robin-like bird in our backyard, and we're incredibly curious as to what sort of bird it is. It's definitely bigger than a robin, but with the exact same coloring.

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  9. You are so fortunate! Happy TT!

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  10. We get a lot of loons 'round our part of the globe... yup... many... and they don't care if it's Spring or not. They're out there...

    OH!

    You meant the birds!

    Oh, we have those too! :)

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  11. Ann Bruce,
    I don't know too much about porcupines, but they sound interesting.

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  12. Alice,
    I've never seen a moose except at the zoo.

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  13. Susan Helene Gottfried,
    Yeah, I like hearing the birds too.

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  14. Lori,
    I'm sorry to hear about your bunnies.

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  15. Adelle,
    The robins are back in Wisconsin too.

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  16. Shelley,
    NZ is so pretty. I'd love to visit.

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  17. Julia,
    The bird in your yard sounds cool.

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  18. DoubleDeckerBusGuy,
    Ha! You should watch out for those loons. Happy TT!

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  19. Well...Ducks, mostly. I have a lady duck who keeps coming back to visit in the Spring. (I think that she likes my Husband)

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  20. We had migrating loons on the pond behind our house last year, but I haven't seen any yet this year. Today, I saw the great blue herons for the first time this year, so I know spring is here.

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  21. You know what I'm going to say. Peepers! I posted a youtube video of them singing.

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  22. Brenda, I didn't know you were also in Wisconsin! First sign of spring: all the state tourneys in town. I finally saw a few robins last week, and have noted the return of red-wing blackbirds and that darn annoying woodpecker. Now, if we could only get rid of the snow!

    http://wordtrix.blogspot.com/

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  23. Our first sign of Spring is being able to see the ground again when the snow goes away - or when Opening Day rolls around. As for animals I would agree that the Robin is a sure thing. Orioles too. We have woodpeckers and chickadees year round along with squirrels and chipmunks. Wild turkeys and rabbits show up in the warmer weather. I haven't seen the coyote or fishercats myself but I have heard or seen evidence of them. Same with deer. We had a beautiful hawk injured in our yard this past summer - hopefully animal rescue was able to patch him up.

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  24. Celticlibrarian,
    I have a duck that visits me too.

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  25. Mary,
    Great Blue Herons? Wow, I wish I could see those.

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  26. Colleen,
    Hey I'll come look for that youtube video. Thanks for the tip.

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  27. Heather,
    Yes, we're almost neighbors. You're in Madison, right? I'm in Milwaukee.

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  28. The Bumbles,
    You're fortunate to have so much wildlife around you. Happy Spring!

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  29. Wow, it's wonderful to see all the animals coming back out, isn't it?

    Recently, a bird built its nest in one of our flowerpots, and we saw the eggs and then later the baby birds when they hatched.

    It was such a wonderful thing to witness, but then my father in law got too curious and ended up scaring the birds and they moved away. =( DH was really annoyed!

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  30. I have been many times in Madison Wisconsin because my aunt lived there, unfortunately I have never seen a single Hummingbird !

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  31. Betty,
    I love having the birds back almost as much as having my spring bulbs come up.

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  32. Gattina,
    My father-in-law has hummingbirds that come to his feeder so I've seen them there, but they're not at my house either.

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  33. Wow, I wish we had such interesting animals as Gray Whales or Whooping Cranes in my neck of the woods. :-) Our wildlife is all very much smaller and nondescript.
    BTW, I love the expression "bunny partners". LOL

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  34. Brenda - Yup, I'm in Madison and actually went to college in Waukesha. Small world, eh? Saw you guys were predicted to get twice the snow we did. I hope most of it has melted already as ours has!

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