Wisconsin Nature Notes, January 2020
The months of the year, from January up to June, are a geometric progression in the abundance of distractions. – Aldo Leopold
I was gifted two unique nature calendars this year and thought I would be remiss to not share some of the gems included in each of them.
The Wisconsin DNR sent me the first one, part of my subscription to their magazine, and other connections that we have from them in operating a natural resource consulting company in Wisconsin.
This one includes plenty of important dates for things happening in natural resources across the state as well as plenty of tidbits about the wildlife and forests of our state.
The second came from the Aldo Leopold Foundation, a Phenology Calendar, with plenty of tips, dates, and observations that are much closer to the land than the DNR calendar.
I will endeavor to share a few of the treasures from both of these a few times each month, if you don’t see one each month, please send me a note to remind me that you are missing these.
Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation). The word, coined by the Belgian botanist Charles Morren around 1849, is derived from the Greek φαίνω (phainō), "to show, to bring to light, make to appear" + λόγος (logos), amongst others "study, discourse, reasoning" and indicates that phenology has been principally concerned with the dates of first occurrence of biological events in their annual cycle. Examples include the date of emergence of leaves and flowers, the first flight of butterflies and the first appearance of migratory birds, the date of leaf colouring and fall in deciduous trees, the dates of egg-laying of birds and amphibia, or the timing of the developmental cycles of temperate-zone honey bee colonies. In the scientific literature on ecology, the term is used more generally to indicate the time frame for any seasonal biological phenomena, including the dates of last appearance (e.g., the seasonal phenology of a species may be from April through September)
According to Wikipedia
January 2020, Events and Observations.
- January 2020 started with a sunrise at 7:29am and a sunset at 4:32pm.
- On the second day of this month we celebrated knowing that the earth was at it’s closest proximity to the sun, a surprising fact considering that we feel more warmth from a wood stove than from the sun this time of year.
- On the third, the Northern Cardinals begin spring songs. I do wonder if they read the calendar since I do not recall hearing these songs, of course I am prone to missing things like this as I rush through my busy weeks.
- On the 4th, we were told that is would be a good time to erect and clean barn owl boxes, a good idea that I missed out on, hopefully others were paying more attention to their calendar and got this job done on time.
- On Saturday the 5th we are told that Black Bear sows begin birthing cubs in dens. I am sure a few wildlife professors and grad students from UW-Stevens Point are out and about doing their annual surveys of these denning bears and their birth rates.
- On the 6th, we were told that it may be a good day to burn our brush piles. I am sure this will be a controversial suggestion, some like that clean look to their woodlot, while others look at the wildlife habitat contained in these piles of refuse.
- On the 7th we hear that the Black Capped Chickadees are beginning their spring territorial song, always a favorite for me as I so enjoy watching these hardy little birds enjoy winter like no one else seems to do.
- Moving forward to the 11th, I see that I missed Aldo Leopold’s birthday, if he had been on Facebook, I probably would have sent him a note, unfortunately for those who are less connected I often miss these opportunities to connect.
- On the 20th, the eve of Martin Luther King Jr Day we have the opportunity to observe a Full "Wolf" Moon, I do wonder how it got that name, may be worth looking up.
- Wisconsin Red Foxes will be happy to know that on the 23rd they are cleared to begin mating, have fun!
- And the following day our Wolves will begin doing the same, clearly a good week to be a wild canine.
- On the 25th Canadian Geese are scheduled to arrive, and our Beavers are scheduled to begin mating, apparently the fox and wolves are not the only ones having fun this week.
- The Canada Lynx heard about all the fun and have scheduled their time to begin mating on Saturday, the 26th, lots of young wild creatures should be arriving soon.
- As we begin the last week of the month, we see that the Grey and Fox Squirrels will begin mating on the 28th, I am sure the above-mentioned predators will be hoping that these rodents are prolific this year.
- On the 30th, the last of the Sandhill Cranes will begin migrating south, a little late in the season, makes me wonder what prompted them to leave so late in the year, perhaps a TSA issue.
- And as we end the month, we see the Great Horned Owls have decided to begin courtship activities on the 31st.
Watch for the second part of this month’s Wisconsin Nature Notes where I will share a few notes, tips, ideas and reflections from the DNR calendar.
- Porcupine Den, Nick Crane
- Chickadee, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Black-capped_Chickadee_eating_seed.jpg