Announcing Journey North's 6th Annual
Signs of Spring Update: February 14, 2000
Announcing the 6th Annual Ice-Out Contest for Walden Pond
When do you think the ice will melt on Walden Pond this spring? Famous naturalist Henry David Thoreau kept ice-out records in the mid-1800's and recorded them in his celebrated book, Walden.
How to Enter the Ice-Out Contest
You're invited to place your guess. The deadline is February 28.
Remember: The deadline is February 28!
to this question, please follow the instructions below.)
Ice-Out Records for Walden Pond
These are the dates the ice went out at Walden Pond as collected in the 1800s by Henry David Thoreau:
..... and as collected in the 1900's by Journey North students
Walden Pond Update: What Song Does Ice Sing?
"A check of ice thickness for today (February 10) ranges from 3" to
12". The range is so great due to the underground streams that feed the pond
and the currents they produce. Today the temp is 40F, which is a little above normal.
Overall temps have been well below normal, about 20F during the day and single digits
Keeping The Nest Warm: Response To Challenge Question #1
Great Horned Owls usually nest in old crow, raven, hawk, or heron nests. In most areas they line the bottom with softer material, such as shreds of bark, leaves, downy feathers from their own breast, the fur and feathers of prey animals, and trampled pellets. This material tends to insulate the nest, holding the mother's heat in. She separates the feathers on her belly, exposing bare skin called a "brood patch." This skin rests against the eggs, but her body feathers surround them on the sides, and the insulating material in the nest keeps the cold out below.
Virtually all birds, including owls, roll their eggs once or twice a day. This helps ensure that the babies all develop properly, with the whole bird warmed rather than just one side. Rolling the eggs also prevents the little developing chicks from sticking to the shell.
Why Lay Eggs in February: Response To CQ #2
What are some reasons why North American owls might breed in mid and late winter?
Owls are well-adapted for finding food in winter. So the male Great Horned Owl can usually hunt successfully to feed himself and his mate both, and when the babies hatch in March and early April, the parents will be able to find food enough for most of them. Incubation of the eggs usually takes a bit over a month, and the babies remain in the nest for about six weeks-by the time they fledge and begin learning how to hunt, there will be an abundance of inexperienced young mammals available for them to practice on.
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question:
Please answer ONLY ONE question in each e-mail message!:
The Next "Signs of Spring" Update Will be Posted on February 28, 2000.
Copyright 2000 Journey North. All Rights Reserved. Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to our feedback form