Category Archives: Bill’s Notes

Signs of Spring 7: The Cicadas Are Coming!

(Click here for an audio version of this blog!) Every seventeen years the quiet parks and forests of Western Pennsylvania explode with sound. Over a four or five week period in May and June periodical cicadas (also called “seventeen year … Continue reading

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Signs of Spring 6: Mourning Cloaks, Commas and Spring Azures!

(Click here for an audio version of this blog!) Last spring (Signs of Spring 3, March 15, 2018) I talked about the evolution of the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Fossilized lepidopteran wing scales have been dated to over 200 million … Continue reading

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Signs of Spring 5: Early Spring on Rock Furnace Trail

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) Deborah and I went down to the Rock Furnace trail last Saturday around noon. It was cloudy but warm (65 degrees) and quite humid. The weather forecast was for … Continue reading

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Signs of Spring 4: Bumblebees and the Pursuit of Happiness (and More!)

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) Emotions are hard to quantify and have been a difficult area of research in non-human subjects. Long standing cautions against anthropomorphic explanations or descriptions in animal behavior studies have … Continue reading

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Signs of Spring 3: Living in Groups

(Click here for an audio version of this blog!) There are many names for groupings of animals. A “herd” is usually a group of mammals with some sort of hierarchy and intra-group communication system. A “flock” is a similar type … Continue reading

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Signs of Spring 2: Daylight Savings Time

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) Last weekend we changed over to Daylight Savings Time (DST). The “spring ahead” change in our clocks does nothing to alter the total amount of daylight we get in … Continue reading

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Signs of Spring 1: Monarchs!

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) As I reported last summer (Signs of Summer 8, July 25, 2018) monarch butterfly numbers and their reproductive efforts here in Western Pennsylvania looked good.  The fields at Harrison … Continue reading

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Signs of Winter 14: More on White-tailed Deer!

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) White-tailed deer form large herds in the winter. These herds are made up of several family units that had been relatively independent of each other throughout the spring, summer … Continue reading

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Signs of Winter 13: Where the Wild Things Are Not!

(Click here if you would like to listen to an audio version of this blog!) The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (the “WWF”) released a report this fall (October 2018) that analyzed the 2014 populations of 17,000 vertebrate animal species … Continue reading

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Signs of Winter 11: The Great Backyard Bird Count!

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) Starting tomorrow (February 15th) and running until Monday (February 18) the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Birds Studies Canada and the National Audubon Society are sponsoring their annual “citizen’s science” … Continue reading

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