Please check back periodically for information about our resident animals, wildlife, and other natural phenomenon.
Thanks to Maryland Master Naturalist Debbie Satorius for these articles and photos on . . .
- Flickers are strange woodpeckers because they get their food from the ground instead of from a tree. They eat more ants than any other North American Bird; one bird consumed 5,000 ants in one sitting! They also are very useful destroyers of insect pests, including the European corn borers.
- The Northern Flicker is one of the few woodpeckers that is migratory. Some birds migrate south from northern areas, although a few individuals will remain, as many do in our area.
- The red-shafted and yellow-shafted forms of the Northern Flicker were once considered different species. These two forms hybridize in a wide zone from Alaska to the panhandle of Texas. The hybrid often has traits from each form. The yellow-shafted flicker is the state bird of Alabama.
- There are signs the Northern Flicker is in decline due to loss of habitat from deforestation, forest fragmentation and removal of dead standing timber.
- A group of flickers are collectively known as a “guttering”, “menorah” or “Peterson” of flickers.
- Monarchs live in North, Central, and South America as well as Australia, some Pacific Islands, India, and Western Europe.
- A monarch's brilliant coloring tells predators: "Don't eat me. I'm poisonous." The butterflies get their toxins from a plant called milkweed, which is their only food source in the caterpillar stage.
- Monarchs flap their wings about 5 to 12 times a second, which is about 300 to 720 times a minute.
- From August-October the Super Generation or last generation of Monarchs are flying more than 3,000 miles to Mexico. The sun is their guide on daily flights, traveling about 50 miles a day. They can ride on thermal air currents, sometimes flying a mile high. When rain splashes down, the wind blows strong or body temperature drops below 86 degrees, they are unable to fly.
- At the Mexico wintering sites, butterflies roost in trees and form huge groups that may have millions of individuals.
|Adult Black Rat Snake|
|Juvenile Black Rat Snakes|
|Spotted Salamander Eggs|
|Spotted Salamander Adult|
- The Pine siskin is a wide-spread, gregarious bird that often frequents our area in the winter, as it spends much of its time breeding in the coniferous forests of Canada and the northern United States.
- It forms large flocks during the nonbreeding season and is commonly attracted to seed feeders. This nomadic finch ranges widely and erratically across the continent each winter in response to the presence of seed crops.
- These brown-streaked acrobats flash yellow wing markings as they flutter while feeding or as they explode as a group into flight. They are better suited to clinging branch tips than to hopping along the ground.
- When cold night temperatures plunge far below zero, they can increase their metabolic rates 40% higher than other songbirds their size. They can also increase their winter fat 50% more than their Goldfinch relatives.
- The oldest Pine siskin was identified to be at least 8 years, 8 months old when it was found in Michigan in 1966, having been banded in Pennsylvania in 1958.
Photos by Debbie Satorius
Chicken of the Woods Mushroom
Northern Water Snake
Photo Credit: Debbie Satorius
|Feeds winter pollinators.|
|Flowers through the snow.|