Archives for The Nature of Phenology

The Nature of Phenology 1/18/20: Cedar Waxwings

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Bigger than a sparrow, smaller than a cardinal, and draped in buff yellows, browns and grays, cedar waxwings are most distinguishable by the size of their flocks to the unaided eye. Throughout the year, I tend to find cedar waxwing flocks numbering around a dozen or so individuals, though those flocks can contain 100 or more individuals this time of year.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com

The Nature of Phenology 1/11/20: January Thaw

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

A January thaw occurs when the outside temperature increases somewhat suddenly compared to the usual temperatures in the surrounding weeks. Depending on how far north you live, this increase in temperature may not actually go above freezing and cause a thaw, but the occurrence holds onto the name “January thaw” nonetheless.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com

The Nature of Phenology 1/4/20: Owls Courting

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

These still and silent January nights are one of two times per year when you have a very good chance of hearing owls singing. In late summer, we hear young owls vocalizing to announce their new territory. But in this part of early winter, owls are vocalizing to attract mates.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com

The Nature of Phenology 12/28/19: Firewood

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

During the warmer months, forests don vast canopies of green leafy glory. These leaves absorb sunlight and use that energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into simple sugars which they can use immediately or store for longer term as more complex carbohydrates such as fibers and starches—making wood.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

The Nature of Phenology 12/21/19: Christmas Fern

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

The urge that many of us have to bring evergreens indoors in late December is a tradition that not only pre-dates Christianity, but also has existed in many cultures around the world for centuries on the winter solstice. Polystichum acrostichoides, or Christmas fern as it is more commonly called, is an evergreen fern found from eastern Texas northeast through Maine and into Nova Scotia.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

The Nature of Phenology 12/14/19: Mice Coming Inside

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Like any mammal, mice need suitable shelter to provide protection from predators, nesting materials, and a spot to retreat out of the elements year-round. In the wilds this time of year a thick, insulating snowpack is important for the survival of mice.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com

The Nature of Phenology 12/7/19: Geminids

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Night in the northern tier comes much earlier in the winter than in the summer. For an added bonus, during our colder months we also happen to have the best shot at getting crystal clear skies thanks to the lower humidity. This week, in fact, you can watch the Geminid meteor shower at a conveniently early time and revel in the abundance of “earthgrazers,” or meteors that barely enter our atmosphere at a very shallow angle and create notably long, bright, colorful tails as a result.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

The Nature of Phenology 11/30/19: Crows Roosting

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Why a group of American crows is called a “murder” is, perhaps, anyone’s guess, for this term is so old it is chronicled in fairytales and folklore. As such, there are many colorful rationales for this grim name that all seem to stem from the fact that crows are opportunistic scavengers, so wherever there is death, there is often a group of crows not too far off.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.