Audubon Outdoors Audubon Outdoors
The Coastal Redwoods
- In: Audubon Outdoors
- Updated 02 May 2016
By: Ron Dodson
As a wildlife biologist, conservation planner and for over 30 years as an executive with one Audubon organization or another, I have been very fortunate to travel around the globe. During all of those years I have had many life changing experiences in nature.
One of those spectacular places that I spent an all to short amount of time visiting was the California Coastal Redwood region. If you have never visited this land of giant trees, I hope you will put it on your bucket list and figure out how to go see and spend time among the redwoods. It is a fantastic thing to spend time in an area that makes a person feel very small and insignificant. We humans often feel and act as if we are the “be all and end all” of nature and that it is our destiny to simply “control” natural systems for our own benefit. Let me tell you that nothing could be farther from the truth. We are not even smart enough to fully understand natural systems, let alone “control” them.
Recently I watched the public television series about the American National Parks, by film maker Ken Burns. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend that you take the time to watch the entire series. While watching the series I kept thinking about all of the National Parks that I have visited over the years, but also how many magnificent parks and vistas of nature that I have yet to see. I also reminisced about a few family vacations that we took several decades ago so that our three sons could experience a little bit of this grandeur also. I bet that all three of them still remember vividly at least a few of these trips, with at least one trip to explore the west through Rocky Mountain National Park being most vivid in their memories.
I also thought about how many people have never, and will never have the opportunity to see and experience these spectacles of nature. I wondered how society in the future will feel about the importance of our National Parks, or even for nature in general if they have had no experiences of this sort.
While our advancing technologies are impressive and certainly make many work related tasks much easier to accomplish, I also think that society is moving way to fast and that we are spending way too much time looking down at our telephones, and typing messages with our thumbs.
Now, my three sons have families of their own and I hope that they can all find ways to take those grandkids of mine on some trips into nature. For them and for you that can start with short trips to a local park or nature preserve, but with proper planning they too can make those long, life changing experience trips to far off places and build memories that will last a life time.
In the meantime, below is a “technology” based experience about the redwoods that I hope you will watch, enjoy and become more motivated to go experience this fantastic region of our country.
- In: Audubon Outdoors
- Updated 23 Apr 2016
By: Ron Dodson
Spring has “sprung” in upstate New York and it is great to hear the spring peepers sounding off as I take my daily walks. The spring peeper is a very small frog, that is not often seen, but often heard as it calls for mates from the soggy and wet places in the fields and ditches every spring.
The spring peeper's habitat includes the Gulf Coast from southeastern Texas to southeastern Georgia and northern Florida, United States covering most of the entire United States east of the Mississippi and spreads to all the way north to eastern and central Canada.
As their common name implies, the spring peeper has a high-pitched call. They are among the first frogs in the regions to call in the spring. As a chorus, some people say that they resemble the sounds of sleigh bells. They are heard early in spring not long after the ice melts on the wetlands. The males usually call from the edges of the bodies of water in which they breed, hidden near the bases of shrubs or grasses. As with other frogs, an aggressive call is made when densities are high.
Spring peepers breed in southern areas from October to March, depending on the local temperature. In northern areas, they breed between March and June, when the warm rains start. Spring peepers typically lay around 900 eggs per clutch, but up to 1000 are possible. Egg clusters are hidden under vegetation or debris at the water base. After hatching, they transform into frogs and are ready to leave the water in about eight weeks. In very cold weather, they hibernate under logs and loose bark. Spring peepers often call day and night as long as the temperature is above freezing, but they are mostly heard and usually not seen because they hide in dense plants. They are especially easy to hear due to their extremely loud mating call which gives them the name "peeper", but it is often hard to pinpoint the source of the sound, especially when many are peeping at once. The peepers generally breed close to dusk and throughout the evening and early morning hours. Their calls can be heard from as far as one to two and a half miles, depending on their numbers. The spring peeper can live an estimated three years in the wild.
Have you heard the Spring peepers calling in your neck of the woods?