Final Signs of Spring Everywhere Update: May 24, 1999
Today's Report Includes:
Babies & Birthdays
Across the northern hemisphere it's BIRTHDAY TIME! We've seen animals migrate as their plant and/or animal prey becomes available along the trail. The arrival of young is also carefully timed. Think about how much food a mom and dad bird need every day just to keep themselves alive. Now imagine how much more work they have when suddenly they have another whole batch of mouths to feed. A pair of loons have to find food for themselves and help their two chicks learn to catch fish. A pair of chickadees must find insects for themselves and their six or even eight helpless nestlings. Foxes, squirrels, and manatees must eat enough to support their own body with calories to spare for producing their milk to feed their babies.
No Need for Birthday Cakes
It isn't just a coincidence that so many baby animals are born or hatched right when there is an abundance of food. Critters time their reproductive cycle to maximize the chances of their babies' survival. Baby owls and hawks hatch out when receding snows are exposing mice just the right size for their little mouths, and by the time they're learning to hunt on their own a few weeks after hatching, there are lots of inexperienced other baby animals around to practice on. Hummingbirds hatch when there is an abundance of flowers to provide nectar and tiny insects. Goldfinches wait until their favorite plants, like thistle and milkweed, are producing lots of seeds. They use the downy seeds for building their nests as well as eating. Wolves pups are born in the arctic when caribou are calving, so their mother will be able to produce milk and so the babies will have easy hunting as they learn.
Are humans born in specific seasons? Ask everyone in the room when they were born, and interview as many people as you can. Graph the data by months.
Final Note from Journey North
As we celebrate the renewal of life now taking place all around us, let's dedicate ourselves to protecting these things we love so much, so that future generations can enjoy them.
Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, was recently asked his vision of the environmental challenges facing the nation and the world. "Achieving stability in population growth in the U.S. and elsewhere is the most important of the hundreds of challenges facing us," he said without pause.
These facts and figures are daunting. And because the solutions to overpopulation are so controversial, people
are afraid to discuss the problem.
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