Monday, February 20, 2017

The Boys Are Back in Town...

 The male Red Wing Blackbirds have returned to the marshes of House In the Wood. They are all spreading their wings and letting out a LOUD conk-la-ree trill. In Blackbird language: STAY AWAY! THIS IS MY AREA! Once they establish AND KEEP their area, they will try to attract the females who arrive a few weeks later. Then it really gets loud!
Red Wing Blackbird in House In the Wood marsh. Frozen lake in background.

The return of the MALE Red Wing Blackbird is one of my FIRST signs of Spring. Another early sign of Spring is the Pussy Willows starting to bud. The willows have a pleasing off-white soft, furry bud.
Red Wing Blackbird on Pussy Willows

 And still another early sign of Spring--the Sandhill Cranes return. They have a very distinctive croak and then you look up, way up, there they are circling overhead.
Sandhill Cranes in Sky
All of this is happening THREE WEEKS earlier than normal! What does it mean?

Click link for more information about Red Wing Blackbirds and Sandhill Cranes. Don't forget to click on the voice to see what they sound like.

House In the Wood is a program of 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

It's Woolly Bear Season

Fall is Woolly Bear season, which means that you see these Isabella tiger moth caterpillars crawling across roads and trails. There is a myth that the orange stripe predicts the winter weather. I wish it were true, because the large orange stripe on this little guy would indicate a very mild winter this year- the larger the stripe, the milder the winter. Find a Woolly Bear and want to raise it from caterpillar to moth? Click here for directions. Woolly Bear Care Sheet.

House In The Wood is a program of Northwestern Settlement, Chicago, Illinois

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Tales from Val's Vacation...The Lone Goose

Terry and I were tent camping in Copper Falls State Park near tiny Mellen Wisconsin. We woke up in the tent at 3 a.m. one morning and spent some time listening to the night sounds. First we heard the high pitched yips of a pack of coyotes and then...coming from far away we heard the honk, honk, honk of many geese. There had to be at least 50 of them. They came closer and closer until it sounded like they were directly above our tent. So loud! If we had been asleep, they would have woken us. They flew past still honking in the distance and then finally silence. Next we heard the faint far off sound of a barred owl hooting once, twice and then one last time. Silence, not a sound, not even the wind. Terry and I started to drift back to sleep. And then faintly in the distance we heard honk, honk, honk from a single goose. We listened intently as the goose got closer and closer. It seem to be saying "Where did everyone go?" All we heard was just that one goose in all of that silence. Honk. Honk. Honk. That one goose continued to honk, "I'm lost. Will someone answer me?" We listened as that one lone honk faded in the distance--never once did we hear an answer.

House In The Wood
Delavan Wisconsin
Valerie Wright Copyright 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

LOOK UP! See FIVE Planets!

How very frustrating that it is so cloudy that we can't see this totally kool event--FIVE PLANETS IN THE SKY AT ONCE! Well, just in case, 45 minutes before sunrise is roughly 6:30am as sunrise is about 7:15am this week and next. Here in Delavan, Wisconsin it looks like there may be a break in the weather on Friday morning. Happy viewing!

Sky and Telescope Diagram

Here's the view 45 minutes before sunrise as plotted for February 1st, about when Mercury should be easiest to spot. Major constellations are also shown. For several days the waning Moon is marching eastward among the assembled planets.

House In The Wood

Science Surrounds Us!

Cool Infographic and Educator Toolkit with Citizen Science Links for school or home
from National Environmental Education Foundation

House In The Wood 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

NEVER saw this at House In The Wood!

This is the first time that I have seen Pilated Woodpeckers at House In The Wood. I was giving a tour at the marsh boardwalk and heard their VERY distinctive "maniacal laugh". There they were--a pair of Pilated Woodpeckers flying from tree to tree. I am so excited--maybe they will mate here and stay around for everyone to see. This is a BIG bird--about 18 inches long and hard to miss with its bring red head. This is the woodpecker that the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker is modeled after.  

Here is more from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Listen to the sound and you will understand why I called it maniacal laughter.

Val's Picture from Missouri

House In The Wood is operated by 

Monday, March 16, 2015

First Signs of Spring

I was away from House In the Wood for five days at a Science Teachers Conference and Spring is busting out all over camp.

...I saw and heard the Sandhill Crane. I saw it circling the marsh as though looking for a special place to land. Their call is a very distinctive trilling honk.
...I saw and heard the MALE Red Winged Blackbird. I saw about 10 of them in the marsh all trying to outdo each other with their noise and wide-spread wings. Those with the best territory "get the girl" when the females arrive a few weeks from now.
...the fisherman are very busy on the ice as the fish bite BEST as the ice is forming and the ice is melting. Or so they tell me!

Watch the next few posts as I share just SOME of the things I picked up at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Chicago last week!

House In The Wood is operated by Northwestern Settlement, Chicago, Illinois