Spring Connection – In Nature, Part 1

Don’t you know that the animal kingdom is ever bit as glad to see Spring begin as we are?! And we are sooo glad for the rain we are receiving this week. Oklahoma is almost on track for regular amounts of moisture received!
First, two tips for all you astronomers out there, from Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar:
(1) When we look into the sky on spring nights, we are looking away from the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Consequently, we see fewer stars and have a less obstructed view outward to beyond our galaxy’s confines.
(2) Sunshine reflects off the Earth and lights up the Moon; the effect is most intense just before and after the new moons of April and May.

And now, here are some of the things happening right under our noses, in the natural world.

WonderBird — During mating season, the female Anna’s hummingbird is tasked with initiating the mating ritual, incubating the young, and raising two broods without the male’s help. She also gathers feathers, hair, and spider webs for the nest.

StuntedSucker — Instead of sipping flower nectar, the harvester butterfly uses its short proboscis to feed on aphid honeydew. Harvester caterpillars are carnivorous and feed on woolly aphids, scale insects or treehoppers.

OpticalMoth — The luna moth, easily identified by its large pale green wings and eyespots, belongs to the Saturnidae or Giant Silkworm Moth family. A nocturnal flier, it traverses the skies in spring and early summer.

SwampThing — The African clawed frog thrives in stagnant algae-covered ponds with temperatures from 60 – 80 degrees F. Lacking a tongue, it relies on a hyobranchial pump to suck food into its mouth, and on its hind claws to tear food.

AntlerAdvantageCaribou cows are uniquely equipped to defend themselves and their springtime newborns; caribou are the only deer species in which both sexes have antlers.

LionFlower — The dandelion‘s deeply toothed leaves are the source of its name: “dent-de-lion” means “lion’s tooth” in Old French. this common plant provides food for deer and rabbits and offers shelter to grasshoppers and fireflies. (Plus, people brew a tea from the plant, and make salads from the leaves!)

Stay tuned for more Spring facts every two weeks on Connection Wednesdays!
(Facts are taken from Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar 2013.)

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