web analytics

Posts Tagged "spring"

Winter’s Not Over Yet

Posted by on Mar 11, 2017

Winter’s Not Over Yet

The fresh blanket of snow across the Western New York landscape is a good reminder that winter isn’t over just yet. However, some of our resident amphibians have been receiving crossed signals due to recent increases in daylight hours and above average temperatures; we have actually gotten reports of salamanders and frogs moving to nearby ponds and vernal pools to lay their eggs. With this weekend’s dropping temperatures, local pools have started to ice over indicating freezing temperatures near the surface. The eggs of some amphibian species are able to cope with fluctuating spring...

Read More

Black-capped Chickadee

Posted by on Mar 5, 2017

Black-capped Chickadee

This may be the last look at a seasonal Sunday bird with snow this winter as it is now meteorological spring! Now that we have crossed into March, cavity-nesting birds like this Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) will be looking for nesting sites. If you enjoy hosting wild birds by providing nest boxes, now is the time to get them ready. Have you ever put out dog fur for birds to use as nesting material? Chickadees, and other small songbirds that use nest boxes and cavities like the Tufted Titmouse, will take fur that you put out in say, an empty suet cage, and use it to line...

Read More

Will the Big Night be Coming Soon?

Posted by on Mar 4, 2017

Will the Big Night be Coming Soon?

Have you seen any signs of spring yet? We certainly have! Robins are actively feeding, red-winged blackbirds are beginning to sing, and it won’t be long before our resident salamanders come out from their winter refuges. Conditions have to be just right to entice them out from under their chosen cover objects; a warm 40° night with rain sets the stage for spotted salamanders to begin their migration. Will we soon see the required circumstances to set this charismatic species on the move? Keep an eye on the weather and another on nearby pools and ponds so as not to miss the big...

Read More

White-throated Sparrow

Posted by on Feb 26, 2017

White-throated Sparrow

Here is a photo of a White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) toughing it out in a recent snowstorm. Despite the fact that we were in the middle of February, this bird was already sporting its spring courting plumage; evidenced by its bright white throat and vibrant yellow lores. This is one of the first species you can expect to hear singing at the end of winter; their “oh-sweet-Canada” or “poor-Sam-Peabody” tune resonates from the brush. In some cases you might see White-throated Sparrows year-round – some birds will overwinter in the Northeast and head...

Read More

Not All Salamanders Are Newts…

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017

Not All Salamanders Are Newts…

If you’re an amphibian enthusiast, you’ve probably heard this phrase at some point: “All newts are salamanders but not all salamanders are newts.” Does trying to make sense of this cause smoke to come out of your ears? You’re not alone. To shed some light on this conundrum, let’s first consider a bit of taxonomy. Within the Class Amphibia there are three Orders: Caudata, Anura, and Gymnophiona. Caudata refers to the salamanders; species that retain their tails as adults and have four legs. These differ from the Anurans (frogs) which lose their tails as...

Read More