Discover Nature NotesMore posts

Fall Sounds

Nov 01, 2017

Autumn sights are unmistakable.  The landscape is awash with the colors of changing leaves.  Sunsets are coppery.  Fall smells are evocative: cider, smoke from burning leaves, and the singed pumpkin of a jack-o-lantern plug.

The sounds of fall are distinct too.  Crickets call.  As e.b. white wrote in charolette’s web, “they sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad monotonous song.”

Crisp, dead leaves cover the ground and swish and crunch underfoot.  Squirrels chatter and raise a leafy rattle as they scurry for acorns to bury and find again as fall fades into winter.

Deer look for mates and they move restlessly.  Bucks vying for dominance fight, and their antlers clack and scrape.  A lone deer suddenly surprised is likely to snort.

Migrating geese cut across autumn skies in wide Vee's, belting out calls of reassurance to one another.  The chorus of honks fills the chill air first softly, then stridently, and then fades away.  A new fleet takes up the call, then it passes too and the relay continues, sometimes for hours.

Spend sometime outdoors this fall enjoying the sounds as well as the sights and smells.

Colors of the Fall

How do leaves change from all shades of green to shades of vibrant orange, deep red and golden yellow? It's all about science.

  • Shedding leaves allows trees to conserve water during the dry months of winter. 
  • As autumn days get shorter, other colors replace the greens in tree leaves. Many of the leaf’s chemicals and nutrients move into the tree trunk. The veins that carry the tree’s food in and out of the leaf gradually close, and the base of each leaf is sealed. 
  • Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes the greens appear. The green leaf begins to fade when the sealed veins don’t allow the leaf to replace its chlorophyll. Then the yellow, orange and brown pigments already in the leaves shine through.
  • Leaves of shrubs and trees turn color in October and are usually shed by November. If fall days are warm and sunny with cool nights, the colors will be at their brightest. If heavy frosts persist, they’ll be dull and fade.

For more on fall colors, head on over to this vintage Discover Nature Notes post.

 

Squirrel Great horned owl.jpg

Squirrel with Great Horned Owl artwork
Squirrel and Great Horned Owl

Critter_Stomp_256_061010.mp3

Sugar maple colorful leaves.
CRITTER STOMP AUDIO as summer sounds fade into fall

CANADA GEESE BABBLE.L.mp3

The sounds of Canada Geese babbling

Squirrel.mp3

Squirrel Sounds

Bucks Fighting.mp3

Sounds of buck's fighting and scraping antlers

Leaves blowing in wind.mp3

Leaves Blowing in the Wind

Recent Posts

Photo of a gravid Mississippi grass shrimp in an aquarium.

Missouri's Freshwater Shrimp

Aug 13, 2018

Shrimp in Missouri, Who Knew?: Two types of freshwater shrimp can be found in Missouri's lakes and rivers. One is common and one is rare. The Mississippi Grass shrimp is small and transparent. The female pictured is carrying her eggs attached to swimmerets beneath her abdomen. The Ohio shrimp are larger and were harvested along the Mississippi river for food in the 1800's. They are rare today. Missouri's freshwater shrimp are important to fish and other wildlife and may live in the waters where you fish and boat. Learn more about them in this week's Discover Nature Note.

common eastern bumblebee

Pollinator Power

Aug 06, 2018

OUR NEED FOR BEES:  Without them, our produce aisles would be mostly bare. With less of them, harvest sizes will shrink and prices will soar.  Bees are essential for many of the foods we eat and nutrients we need.  Native bumblebees are intentional pollinators that do the most important work.  Learn more about bees, how you can help, and the amazing diversity we have in St. Louis in this week's Discover Nature Note. (Pictured:  Common Eastern Bumblebee)

Great Horned Owl

Theater in the WILD

Jul 30, 2018

Theater in the Wild: Some of the biggest stars have graced its stage, and swallowed our bugs while singing, but often nature and wildlife have been an inspiring and entertaining part of the show. The Muny opera took shape 100 years ago between two giant oak trees in a natural bowl in Forest Park in St. Louis. Ol' man River Des Peres which runs through it caused early trouble in river city with a flood that washed the orchestra's instruments as far away as Carondelet.

Today, the river runs behind and below the theater offering audiences a chance to view wetland species. The trees surrounding the stage are part of the design for several musicals and are looked after with care. Squirrels, possums or raccoons may appear climbing lighting grids or wandering onto the stage at any moment during a show.

Just as in nature, there are free sets to enjoy the show in the nation's largest, greenest outdoor theater in one of our country's biggest urban parks. Learn more about Forest Park and nature's show in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Archive

Field Guide

Discovering nature from A-Z is one click away

Recipes

You had fun hunting, catching or gathering your quarry—now have more fun cooking and eating it.
Check out the recipes