A week-by-week look at what is happening in nature.
A special thanks to Virginia Barlow’s Ginny’s Calendar in Northern Woodlands Magazine.
Raccoons are shifting from a diet that includes a fair amount of animal food to one of mostly fruits, grains, and seeds / Barn and tree swallows are migrating / Live-bearing female garter snakes spend much of the day basking, incubating their developing young at between 29 and 32°C / Red eft is the name given to the juvenile red spotted newts that leave the ponds where they were born and live on land for up to five years before returning to the water.
At one month old, little brown bat offspring are becoming self-supporting / Monarch butterflies begin to return, just as milkweed flowers begin to open. They will soon lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves / Flickers on the ground are probably eating ants. They eat more ants than any other North American bird, using their long tongues, which have a strongly alkaline, sticky surface and may neutralize the formic acid that ants contain.
Antlers on whitetail bucks have grown almost full sized / Syrphid flies, often boldly patterned in black and yellow, feed on flowers and are sometimes mistaken for bees / The cabbage butterflies now seen in gardens have spread across most of the U.S. since arriving from Europe in 1860. Chemicals the larvae pick up from their food make them distasteful to birds / When robins cock their heads, they aren’t listening for worms, they are looking for them.
Floating fragments of cattails in ponds may be the result of muskrats feeding on cattail rhizomes, a muskrat staple / Ring-necked snakes are laying eggs in and under rotten logs. Several females may use the same nest / Toads end their three- to six-week tadpole stage and venture onto land / Female eastern milk snakes lay about a dozen eggs in July. They will hatch in six to eight weeks / Yarrow blooms all summer. The leaves can be chewed to relieve toothaches.