Fall Connection #7 – October Eco-facts

Here are more great autumn factoids from Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar.
These facts give us insight into the natural world around us, and help us to make sense of what’s happening during this season with mammals, birds, insects and more, as well as in the sky.

OctoberOrators  One would expect to hear birdsong in spring, but some species renew their warbling ways in autumn to establish winter feeding territories. Entire families of Carolina wrens, northern mockingbirds, and northern cardinals serenade the cooling days in North America.

ColorBurst As days shorten, deciduous trees form a corklike layer at the base of each leaf. This cork slows production of chlorophyll, the chemical responsible for leaves’ green color, and unveils the fiery colors produced by the leaves’ other chemicals: anthocyanins, xanthophylls, and carotenes.

WildWallow For most of the year, wild boars wallow in mud to regulate their body temperature, disinfect wounds, and remove parasites. Mature male boars also wallow during the autumn breeding season.

Orionids The Orionid meteor shower is in full swing this week. The show was expected to peak on October 21, but will continue for several days. This regular meteor shower occurs every October.

FishFinders Belted kingfishers hunt in clear, calm aquatic environments across North America, both fresh and saltwater. In the fall, most kingfishers living farther north migrate south to find ice-free fishing.

FurryFisher Northern river otters eat a diet primarily of fish, frogs, crayfish, and shellfish. Otters make small piles of shells, claws, and other remains on riverside rocks within their habitats. Water pollution and habitat destruction are now endangering these otters.
 
SwoopingScoopers In autumn, brown pelicans nest in large groups: in California 5,000 pelicans have been observed in a single nesting site. These pelicans have large bills to scoop up water and fish. They drain the water from their bills and swallow the fish whole.

NestingNortherners The ocelot is native to South America but sometimes lives as far north as Texas. In autumn, these northern ocelots inhabit dens, preparing for an upcoming litter of two or three new kittens.

Watch for more Eco-facts from the calendar in mid-November. Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar is available through www.pomegranate.com 

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