Sunday, April 18, 2021

Spring Is Here!

 As in the past several years, I am getting a  fun break from writing the blog and turning it over to students from the Conn College Goodwin Niering Center for the Environment.  I enjoy the new voices. Sometimes they see the same things differently. They have different points of view. I always learn a lot from these enthusiastic and motivated young adults. This year has been more challenging due to Covid.  But they have adapted well.

These upcoming weeks will showcase essays for the blog post by different students. Some will highlight the project they are working on or offer their thoughts on different topics. The photos will be from various sources but the words are their own. 

Please enjoy their voices.  Beth


Blooming cherry blossoms
welcomingthe world to spring
The start of spring marks a new beginning. As the days get longer, the weather warms, and animals start to wake up from hibernation, we too crawl out from under our warm covers and start enjoying the sunshine and the outdoors. March 20 marked the first official day of spring this year and was welcomed wholeheartedly. As we start to leave cold, rainy days in the past and start to enjoy fresh air more, it is not unusual to encounter wildlife while taking a leisurely outdoor walk. Here are a few fun facts about common Connecticut wildlife during transitions from winter to spring.

1. Welcoming New Life

Spring is often viewed as a symbol for new beginnings, for growth, and for new life. This can be seen in the regrowth of plants from winter, new flowers blossoming, and, many people’s favorite, baby animals! As the weather starts to warm, you can expect to see and hear signs of new life.
Baby birds also make their way
into the world in spring.

Many common mammals, especially wild herbivores such as deer and rabbits have babies during spring.

Baby rabbits are called kittens, females are called doe, and males are called bucks. Doe are only pregnant for 28-31 days and can give birth to up to 14 babies. Rabbits mature between three and six months of life, so by next spring, all of this year’s kittens will have separated from their mother and will be on their own.

Baby deer, or fawns, are usually born between May and June. They are usually found in meadows during spring and summer months. Mother deer, or doe, usually leave their fawns for long periods of time the first few days. Although this may seem harsh, it’s because fawns don’t have a scent, so it is actually safer for them to lay still alone to hide from predators. Fawns usually stay with their mothers for up to a year, much longer than kittens!

2. Migration Season

Purple martins returning
to their colonies.

The start of spring also marks the beginning of a new migration season. With warmer weather, many bird species start to make their way back to their homes up North. Connecticut is a great place to see birds such as Warblers, Hummingbirds, Purple Martins, and Tree Swallows. Connecticut is also home to birds such as  American Robins, Blue Jays, Woodpeckers, and many more. Head over to an Avalonia Trail to enjoy nature and see some beautiful birds. Bring binoculars for the best views and don’t forget to take a moment to listen and enjoy the birdsong!

3. Spring Peepers

Saying hello to a small friend
Birds are not the only species to return for spring. Frogs, such as Spring Peepers also start to come out
more. These little frogs are known for their distinctive chirping. In fact, they have an especially pronounced vocal sac under their chin that looks like a bubble. The endless chripring you often hear at night is actually a spring peeper mating ritual. Males call out to females, who are attracted to the male’s chirping. After mating, females will lay their eggs underwater and wait for them to hatch approximately twelve days later.

4. Welcoming Wildflowers

Beautiful fruit trees bloom under
the spring sun.

After months of only seeing cold, grey outdoors, Spring finally reintroduces color back into our lives. Wildflowers can really help landscapes look more cheerful. From daisies, dandelions, clovers, and chicories, a variety of flowers start to color the ground. Spring is the perfect time for colorful, relaxing walks and taking beautiful pictures. Just remember to bring allergy medicine if pollen bothers you!

5. Saying Hello to Butterflies and Bees

Mourning cloaks are often the first
butterflies to be seen in the spring.
Warmer days and clear weather sure encourage people to go outside, but did you know that bumblebees 
feel the same way? Queen bees are the first to leave their underground hibernation sites in search of flowers to regain strength lost during winter. They search for the first spring flowers to feed on and rebuild their colonies throughout the season.

Butterflies are one of the most popular signs of spring. Their colorful wings and gentle nature delights people of all ages. Many butterflies emerge from their chrysalis in March or early spring, and some have overwintered as butterflies and hibernated. Most will continue to be active until fall. They usually become active as the day warms in the morning and can often be seen in the afternoon. Although butterflies start to appear in spring, peak butterfly season isn’t until summer, meaning that different kinds of butterflies continue to emerge throughout spring.

 Written by Madeleine Gassin




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