Saturday, January 10, 2009

What happens in January?

We have two Wisconsin phenology calendars, one from the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, and one from the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton. They are both great calendars.

Here is the Pheasant Branch's list of what to look and listen for in January:

Crows in large flocks
Squirrels mating (note chasing games)
Goldenrod galls
Jelly fungi on wet logs
Snow fleas
Great horned owls calling

The ALF calendar's January list:

Black bear cubs being born
Black-capped chickadees begin spring courtship song
Red foxes, wolves, beavers, Canada lynx and Fox and Gray Squirrels begin mating
Great horned owls begin courtship activities

The Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold talks about a January thaw and skunks taking a break from their hibernation during it.

We will be looking for these things over the next few weeks and plan to write about what we find. We would also love to hear about what you find.


  1. We have seen flocks of crows! It surprised me because they stand out so much against the white snow. What does a snow flea look like? I wish we could hear owls! We saw a Cooper's Hawk yesterday at Governor Nelson State Park but that is not unusual. Can't wait to read more!

  2. Where and when did you see the crows? I feel like I have been hearing them more than usual, but I haven't seen a flock of them. Do they flock at a particular time of day, I wonder. I also wonder why they start flocking in January. Maybe someone who knows can help out!

    I don't think I've ever seen a snow flea. I bet they have them at the Arboretum because I have vague recollections of naturalists there talking about them. I've also heard people talk of great-horned owls at the Arboretum, but we went for a walk there last night and didn't hear them.

  3. Just searched for snowfleas on the internet. This link has a good description:

    They are also called springtails and look like a sprinkling of pepper on snow. They are apparently very common, so we should be able to find them in our backyards! They are usually seen on a warm sunny day on the snow in the winter. We are going to have to wait a while for that one if the weather forecast is correct!

  4. We have seen the crows gathering right on Lakeside and then we were out in Oregon on Monday and saw a HUGE flock gathered in a corn field.

  5. The crows must not like the Bram Street area much! I haven't seen any around here yet. It looks like I will have to venture farther to see some! We're staying home today though. Stay warm!