February is our Waking Winter Wildlife where we focus on those animals that either do not hibernate or migrate, but were able to “brave the elements” which is actually just the fact that they are able to find food. We also focus on what is happening to those plants and animals at this time of year as they wind down their winter dormancy and begin to ramp up for spring, the harbingers, if you will. Skunk cabbage is chemically melting its way through ice and snow, creating natural “saunas” for early rising insects to shelter in. Woodpeckers and sapsuckers create sap flows in high sugar trees like maples, allowing for the emergence of our earliest butterfly, the Mourning Cloak. Winter songbirds have been active all winter and continue to scavenge for seed, while the chickadee with its seasonally enlarged brain lives off its hundreds of caches of seeds much like a squirrel does.
While we cannot always see all of this late Winter activity, we will be learning how to “Read the Landscape” for signs of winter wildlife like tracks, tree scratches, scat, and other markings. Activities will include the creation of winter track ID books and the creation of “track stories” by participants. From 2-3, I’ll lead a “signs of waking and active wildlife” hike at the Sanctuary using the citizen science app, iNaturalist to record and identify our findings, weather permitting. Experts from Horizon Wings
will present ambassador birds of prey and discuss how they are adapted to find and catch their winter meals. In addition, we will present Citizen Science programs to engage people in helping wildlife and the scientists who conserve it. Experts from the Beardsley Zoo and The Maritime Aquarium will present Frogwatch USA (https://www.aza.org/frogwatch
), a Citizen Science initiative that monitors the waking amphibians by listening to their mating songs. We will also present information on responsible bird feeding and the Great Backyard Bird Count (http://gbbc.birdcount.org
) from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that takes place over President’s Day weekend, making use of the eBird and Merlin Bird ID apps.
12-1 Activities and presentations, experts from Bearsdley Zoo and Maritime Aquarium
1-2 Horizon Wings
2-3 Guided Hike through the sanctuary – all outdoors and weather dependent.
Participants going on the hike must dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear for hiking in mud/snow and are encouraged to bring cameras.
Come meet the adoptable animals from Red Leash Rescue looking for their forever home.
Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.