Embrace it by getting outdoors!

 

A large buck photographed in Depew, NY.

    The beginning of December is when we begin to make the inevitable transition to winter.  As days become colder and nights become longer, our world here in Western New York begins to change, both for us, and the wildlife. These colder months may require a bit more preparation in order to enjoy the great outdoors, but that is simply a small price to pay!  Now is the time of the year you can see squirrels frantically, and hilariously, running around and storing food for the winter. It is quite entertaining bearing witness to these rambunctious rodents chasing each other over their food caches, which they will utilize as they remain active through the season.  Now is the time of year you can see a 10-point buck with his beautiful winter coat walk across a meadow, or even your backyard!  As we traverse deeper into the winter, they will then loose these antlers, which can be quite fun to find.  Cardinals with their red plumage contrast with the white snow, making for quite the majestic scene and blue jays fill the quiet, cold forests with their raucous calls.  Unlike these two year-round residents and others like them, much of our migratory birds have flown south by now and we eagerly await their return in the spring.  Fortunately for the birders out there, this is compensated by the arrival of northern birds!  Western New York is the winter vacation destination for several species of birds that breed and spend the warmer months north of us, such as Canada.  The upcoming season provides us with temporary opportunities to be in the presence of such birds.  Swathes of waterfowl flock to our open rivers and lakes, and northern raptor species grace us with their mighty presence.

    This is the time of year for change, not unlike the coveted spring season.  These transitional periods do not last long in nature and truly are “carpe-diem” moments.  The only way to “seize” them, is to experience them!  So, put on those extra layers and go see what’s out there!  To learn about and experience what is happening in our environment, consider tagging along on one of Earth Spirit’s public programs.  You never know what you will see, but you will learn something new.  We hope to see you there!

Recent Wildlife Sightings:

Sandy:

  • A herd of six White-tailed Deer frequently visiting the cabin in Colden.

Jon:

  • A pair of Great Horned Owls hooting outside of the house.
  • A Great Egret, Northern Harrier, Belted Kingfisher, and 20 other species of birds along a canal and field during a PA trip.
  • A few very talkative Carolina wrens over the past few weeks, both in WNY and PA.
  • A Hairy Woodpecker excavating a cavity in a dead branch above the house.

Daniel:

  • Six Short-Eared owls hunting grasslands in Avon.
  • A Red Fox during the Member’s Only Owl Prowl at the Park School of Buffalo.
Winter is Coming…

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