Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Every Moment Matters

Nature Watch

By Susan Thurn,
Cable Natural History Museum

Saturday brought my first Eastern phoebe, the first sound I heard when I awoke. Sunday I experienced my first deer tick. Monday I saw two sandhill cranes fly overhead. Tuesday I saw a wolf and my first butterfly of the season, a Compton’s tortoiseshell. Wednesday my husband saw his first bear of the season and I tasted the first spring’s maple sap from a friend’s maple sugar bush. Thursday a northern flicker flew away from the roadside as I drove home. Friday a turkey vulture flew overhead, looking as if it was sauntering north to wherever it calls it’s second home.

Today in school we went outdoors to watch and listen. Red-winged blackbirds were singing everywhere as they are migrating through. Large flocks of slate-colored juncos were swarming through in their migration. Grackles were flying from tree to tree.

Others excited by spring’s changes have told me of their observations as well. Trumpeter swans are migrating through our area. Loons are back on many of our area lakes. Water birds like northern shovelers, American coots, mallard, redhead, and wood ducks can all be observed on bodies of water. Chipmunks are out of hibernation. Song sparrows, kingfishers, kestrels, and tree swallows are all returning.

I have tasted the sweetness of spring, smelled the earth’s soils, stood in the year’s first rains with raindrops coating my face, and listened to the music of the frogs and birds. Every new observation, even for the forty-second time, (give or take a couple of years,) is a wonder each and every time. I am a phenologist, someone who joins many others every season in watching nature’s changes.

Every Act Matters. This is one of the themes for this year’s Earth Day, which takes place every year on April 22. Become a phenologist. Get outdoors on Earth Day and every day, and see what can be observed in our new spring. Enjoy what is in our north woods back yard. Care and protect everything we can. Every act, every moment matters!

For over 42 years, the Museum has served as a guide and mentor to generations of visitors and residents interested in learning to better appreciate and care for the extraordinary natural resources of the region. The Museum invites you to visit its facility in Cable at 13470 County Highway M. Also find us on the web at to learn more about our exhibits and programs. Also discover us on the web at, on Facebook, or at our blogspot, to learn more about our exhibits and programs.

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