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Nature Fun Facts
Additional Park Resources
Nature Fun Facts
Nature Fun Facts
Fluctuating temperatures of cold nights and warm days causes sap to flow in tree trunks.
The sap of sugar maples has the highest sugar concentration of any of our native trees, from 2 to 4%
Soils that form over shale bedrock drain poorly compared to soils formed from sandstone.
Tree and shrub leaf buds contain miniature, folded leaves, which will expand and grow when day length and temperatures are right.
Red-winged blackbirds are our true harbingers of spring, not the robin!
Johnny Appleseed was a real person named John Chapman, who planted apple trees across Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia and Ontario.
March 30th is National Take a Walk in the Park Day.So what are you waiting for? Get out here!
Day and night become equal during the Spring Equinox, on the 20th or 21st of March.
The American Indian word "Cuyahoga" means "crooked river".
Spotted salamanders are in a genus commonly called mole salamanders because of their underground lifestyle.
Fall-run steelhead trout can breed as early as March.
There are approximately 20,000 species of bees in the world. About 500 of those species live in Ohio!
Unlike the wasp, which can sting many times in a row, a bee will die after using its stinger.
Caterpillars have poor eyesight and use six tiny eyelets called "stemmata", located on the lower portion of their head, to help them locate food.
Female minks make dens in burrows along the bank of a stream or lake, under a stump or log, or in an old muskrat den.
The star-nosed mole is semi aquatic, so many of its tunnels open under the surface of a stream or lake.
Plants in the milkweed family contain poisons known as cardiac glycosides, which render them unpalatable to most insects.
Opossums have partial or total immunity to the venom produced by rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and other pit vipers due to a protein known as Lethal Toxin-Neutralizing Factor.
The Lakeside Daisy (Hymenoxys herbacea) is Ohio’s rarest native plant species.
World Water Day (22 March) is a day to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle water and sanitation issues.
Rain barrels can harvest up to 1300 gallons during summer months.
Rain-water contains no chlorine, lime, or calcium.
Annual precipitation in Cleveland, Ohio is about 40 inches.
Salamanders, fairy shrimp, and frogs depend on fish-free seasonal ponds called vernal pools.
Bumblebees are active below 50° F making them important early spring pollinators.
Wood frogs, spring peepers and spotted salamanders head to vernal pools to breed on rainy nights above 40° F.
Vernal pools fill with melting snow and spring rains and typically dry up by late summer.
Buzzards, or turkey vultures, return to Hinckley Reservation every year on March 15.
The Annual Return of the Buzzards has been celebrated on March 15 since 1957.
Buzzards can smell carrion from a mile away.
Buzzards pee on their feet to clean them and to cool them off on hot days.
Buzzards can be seen perched in trees with their wings expanded so they can use the sun to help clean their feathers off.
A sugarbush in the Royalview area of Mill Stream Run Reservation once produced 1200 gallons of maple syrup each year; the sugar house burned down in 1945, but the chimney remains visible.
Great blue herons return as soon as the ice melts allowing them to begin hunting again.
Song sparrows can be heard singing their songs.
Coltsfoot may make an appearance this month showing its yellow dandelion like flowerhead.
Male American woodcocks may begin their spring mating flights.
Male American woodcocks hiccup before they make their "peent" sound.
Female groundhogs have awakened.
Spring peepers "peep" and wood frogs "quack" as they begin their mating cycle.
The days are noticeably longer.
Male American woodcocks have returned and can be seen performing their "sky dance" for interested females.
Eastern gray squirrels have their young, we will not see the young for 12 more weeks.
Squirrels often nip maple branches to drink the sweet sap.
March’s first full moon is named the “worm moon,” as the first worms will emerge after the ground begins to thaw.
March is named for the Roman god of war, Mars, as it was when the Romans began their military campaigns.
When the sap begins to flow again in our deciduous trees, it’s time to tap sugar maples for sap. 32 gallons of sap are used to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, a product only produced in northeast North America.
The first flower, skunk cabbage, melts its way through the snow to attract the first pollinators to emerge: flies. Not only is the flower mottled the reds, browns, and greens of carrion, its scent lives up to its namesake.
Mole salamanders emerge from underground to find their natal vernal pools. It’s time to mate and lay eggs before they disappear back beneath the earth for the rest of the year.
Rainy nights in March may chill us, but they are perfect for cold-blooded amphibians to migrate. You can watch these critters cross roads to reach the temporary pools where they were born. These pools are full of “dancing” salamanders and “serenading” frogs and toads. These amorous activities will result in mass mating.
Amphibians aren’t the only ones who migrate. Raptors such as hawks and vultures start returning from their warm, southern hang-outs.
Red-wing Blackbirds are amongst the first migrating birds to return. The males are black with red epaulettes (shoulder patches), and they belt out a characteristic “conk-la-reee!” from their perches. Females are more cryptic and look like large sparrows.
Vernal pools are temporary nurseries for all manner of amphibian eggs. Because they will dry up as the weather warms, the larvae inside must mature quickly.
Polypores are year-round fungi you’ll find growing from trees and logs like little shelves. Some of them are tough and woody and endure long enough to grow moss on their surface. Look at the bottom of these “shelves” to see the little pores through which the reproductive spores fall.
Daylight Savings Time tells us to spring our clocks ahead. It is the result of the Uniform Time Act, signed as law by Lyndon B. Johnson on Apr. 12, 1966.
Male American Woodcocks will begin their courtship dances this month. Normally well-camouflaged and quiet, these ground nesting birds have a unique amorous display at the onset of dark. Males will “peent” their nasal call and then take to the sky in broadening circles. Then they will drop in a spiral, their wings atwitter at hope of catching a female’s attention.
Botanically all shamrocks are clovers, but not all clovers are shamrocks. The word “shamrock” is Gaelic for little clover. 1 in every 10,000 clovers has 4 leaves, usually due to recessive gene or a genetic mutation.
The buds you see on the trees have been there all winter, but as the weather warms, and the length of daylight increases, plant hormones will cause those buds to swell and eventually open.
Even though Groundhog’s Day is in February, these rodents will hibernate until spring has fully sprung. Not having eaten all winter, you might see them emerge and greedily feast on the grass and flowers along the roadsides and in meadows.
The Spring Equinox, the first day of spring, is when the sun is directly over equator, giving us equal lengths of day and night. This is officially the beginning of spring and the end of winter.
March is said to come “in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Average low/high temperatures for March in Cleveland are 29 degrees/46 degrees. Our record low was -5 degrees in 1984; our record high was 83 degrees in 1945.
Spring Peepers are tree frogs the size of your fingernail. Listen for their peeping near wet habitats. In unison, their calls can be deafening. Only the males will call, hoping to attract a female by the quality of his voice.
Colt’s Foot is an early spring wildflower you’ll often see along roadsides. They resemble dandelions except that they have no leaves. Once the flower has gone to seed, the leaves will appear and resemble the hoof prints of a young horse.
Peak waterfowl migration is March 16 - 30. Check inland lakes and bodies of water, such as Sunset Pond and Wildwood for unusual visitors.
Violets are native wildflowers that attract bee pollinators. Violets are high in vitamin C, and people often consume the blossoms in their salads.
From late March to mid - April, owl eggs are hatching. They hatch sequentially so that some are more mature than others, to increase their chance of survival. Owlets are born precocial, with eyes open and feather down to keep them warm.
The last 3 days of March are “borrowing days”---traditionally the stormiest days of the month. Folklore says that March borrowed them from April to keep its windy trend alive.
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