Migrate, Stay Active, or Hibernate?

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Pumpkins were laced with frost last Saturday morning and that sudden temperature plunge sent motorists scrambling for window scrapers as squirrels went into overdrive nut gathering mode. Hours of daylight are diminishing and leaves are cascading downwards with each gust of wind. Although some humans head south for the entire winter, most of us simply adapt to the cold with heavier coats, warm houses, vacation dreams and weather-adjusted outdoor plans. But what about the wildlife in our midst as temperatures continue to fall and food gets harder to find? They have three choices: migrate, stay active, or hibernate. Continue reading

To Migrate or Not? That is the Question.

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The classic image of bird migration at the approach of winter is the sight of Canada Geese flying high above our lakes, parks, towns and cities in V-shaped flocks. As winter fades, local television newscasters sometimes bubble with excitement at an alleged sign of spring’s return, robins on a snow speckled lawn. They salute the American Robin as the first returning bird of spring when robins are reported stalking about sunny suburban lawns searching for worms between patches of melting snow. These romanticized images of bird behavior and migration are less than accurate. Continue reading

Great Blue Herons: Master Hunters, Delayed Migrators

 WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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Whether poised motionlessly in the protected wetlands of Rose Oaks County Park, or along an urban creek amidst the bustle of the City of Pontiac, one thing remains certain about the Great Blue Herons: they are a majestic sight. Bird migration is well underway in these crisp days of autumn, but our Great Blue Herons, the largest and most common of the North American herons, are not going anyplace soon. Some will loiter in Oakland County into early November. Others may never leave.

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