What You Can See on April 2
Submitted by Ted Williams on Sat, 04/01/2006 - 18:58.
From Audubon’s Earth Almanac by Ted Williams and compiled in “Wild Moments,” edited by Connie Isbell, Illustrations by John Burgoyne, Storey Publishing, 174 pages. White Reprise As the last patches of snow shrink under a high, lingering sun, the woods turn white again. In rich forestland from Ontario and Quebec and south to Arkansas and Georgia, large-flowered trilliums are in full bloom. Like all trilliums, they have three leaves, three sepals, three petals, and a three-chambered pistil. Other common varieties include the painted trillium—so called for the fuchsia veins in the center of its white, wavy-edged petals—and the aptly named stinking Benjamin, or wet-dog trillium, which seems to be appreciated only by its carrion-fly pollinators. Trilliums have evolved a unique method of dispersal. In late summer the capsule containing the seeds splits open, spilling them on the ground. Attached to each seed is a crest composed of a sweet material relished by ants. Ants drag away the crest with its attached seed, then eat the former and discard the latter. Matron of the Eaves To be chosen by eastern phoebes means that you and your dwelling have not pressed too harshly on the living earth. Watch for these gray, bewhiskered flycatchers hovering near the edge of your roof or perched on a nearby branch, tails pumping as both sexes shout their raspy, incessant feebee or feebeleee. Now, under the eaves, the female begins laying eggs in her nest of mud, moss, and grass—one each morning until there are four or five. You’ll know the eggs have hatched when both parents flutter in and out of the nest every few minutes. Usually, they will raise another brood later in summer.