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Waking from Winter

February 8, 2015 - Naturalist's Notes

The days are now filled noticeably longer daylight. Many people are happy because it means commuting while the sun is up or having a little more light to take a walk in the evening. For Maryland’s flora and fauna, the extra daylight may flip a switch on species’ biological clocks.

Take the maple trees, for example. Sugars stored as starch in the roots are dissolved back into the sap, becoming sucrose. Freezing nights and warm, sunny days cause the sap to flow. Humans take advantage of this natural phenomenon to collect sap from the trees for syrup production.

Flying squirrels heavily prepare to raise young beginning in February. Setting up territory, mating and nest building (in cavities) all become priorities. Many other mammals follow the same cues.

So, as the daylight increases with each passing day, know you are not the only one thinking spring!