Archives for The Nature of Phenology

The Nature of Phenology 2/1/20: Bear Cubs Being Born

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Maine has only three true hibernators: groundhogs, little brown bats, and jumping meadow mice. While black bears do hunker down in order to conserve energy for the winter, they aren’t technically hibernators, but rather go into a similar process called torpor. Knowing that black bears do wake up occasionally during the winter makes it seem a bit more understandable that females can give birth during this time of year.

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

The Nature of Phenology 1/25/20: Snowflake Formation

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

When liquid water evaporates or solid ice sublimates, it transform into the gas we know as water vapor. In the case of snow formation, the water vapor becomes super chilled far below the freezing point of water, so when it comes into contact with dust, pollen, or smoke, that water vapor instantly forms a microscopic crystal of ice in a process called deposition.

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

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