Centennial Woods 4/16/18: Spring???

Today the weather is not quite that of a typical spring day, as the ground is covered in a thick, slushy snow, despite the 40 degree weather and pretty heavy rain. Since all of April has been cold pretty cold and snowy, it feels and looks like February, not April. Because of this, finding signs of spring was really difficult. Even after scraping away all the slush to get to the ground, there were absolutely no signs of amphibians, and no wildflowers beginning to poke through the ground. The only signs of life on/near the ground were the occasional ferns, which remained green throughout the winter, and some moss and lichen on the trees. The trees, including the oaks and maples, in my spot have buds on them, which is a promising sign that spring is underway. However, not a single tree I saw had begun to flower.

One huge sign of spring that was impossible not to notice was the birds. From the second Centennial Woods was in eyesight, I could hear a wide variety of birds chirping and calling out. I am the first to admit that I do not know the different sounds each bird makes, but I did distinctly hear crows and chickadees, among other calls I do not recognize. I also saw a couple of cardinals, chickadees, and a pileated woodpecker high up in a tree.

Also, my place in Centennial Woods is very close to a couple of edges. On one side, there is a residential neighborhood, and on the side adjacent to that neighborhood is a main road. This definitely leads to an edge effect. There is a lot of noise pollution, ranging from loud highway noise, cars and other vehicles, planes, and humans. There is also light pollution from the city and the nearby neighborhood homes, and lots of dogs and cats make their way through this portion of the woods, which can be seen through the tracks left in the snow. This can definitely affect the species living there, as cats and dogs can kill species, especially birds, the light pollution can throw off the species’ sense of time, and noise pollution can confuse species and ultimately lead to their death. This habitat is not suitable for interior species due to the clear cutting for hiking trails, the close proximity to the neighborhood, and the nearby road.

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