Get Some Spring in Your Step
The sun is content to linger above the horizon a bit longer each day. A slightly warmer breeze whispers, promising change. Songbirds call louder, establishing territories to impress each other. Raptors take to the skies, spreading their wings to catch thermals wafting up from the earth. Spring is almost here!
Some animals get an early start to their spring activities. Varying salamander species have already emerged from underground and under rocks to participate in the annual mass migration to the local ponds. Their mission is simple: to find a mate! After a short week’s time, these secretive animals return to their hidey holes. Evidence of their pond reunion can be found in the form of slimy egg masses, deposited on vegetation, rocks and even just floating in the water.
Great horned owls are often already on eggs in the nest, having courted their mate during the months of December and January. These birds do not put forth effort into building a nest, but instead will simply “borrow” an abandoned one from last spring. Usually created by American crows or hawks, the nest provides a large enough platform for comfort and stability. Conspicuous ear tufts can sometimes be sighted above the nesting material, providing sure evidence of the great horned owl’s presence.
Even though spring officially begins on March 20, nature has already begun to wake from her winter slumber. Visit one of your Great Parks of Hamilton County to experience the possibilities of a new season. Get some spring in your step.
Amy Smith, Naturalist, Woodland Mound