Is autumn is in the air? Here in New Hampshire, the temperature is falling, the leaves are starting to change color, and the garden plants are slowing down. How does your neck of the woods signal the change of seasons?
Recently, I’ve also noticed another sign that it's fall: bird migrations.
Two weeks ago, I was invited to a friend’s cottage on the seacoast in Little Compton, Rhode Island. One early evening, we were amazed to witness masses of birds swarming above their pond. She told me that they were tree swallows feeding on mosquitoes. It was almost eerie to see the black clouds of small birds darkening the sky.
Then, last week, I drove to Plum Island, Massachusetts on a school field trip. I saw the tree swallows again—a multitude of small birds taking to the skies! Have you ever seen such a sight? It turns out that tree swallows gather in coastal locations to feed on the fruits of bayberry bushes prior to a mass migration south.
Over the weekend, I hiked up a nearby mountain, Pack Monadnock. At the summit, we were thrilled to view kettles of hawks soaring in the sky. At the high mountain altitudes, they float on "thermals" (pockets of warm air), barely needing to flap their broad wings. The hawk migration means that their food supply of frogs, snakes, and forest creatures is dwindling—a clear sign of summer's end! Read more about hawks and birds of prey.
Birds aren't the only creatures hinting that cold weather's coming. Our Almanac publisher recently saw a bear crossing the road in the middle of her walk! This is the second time in one week I’ve heard of a bear sighting. Folklore says . . .
It is going to be a tough winter if bears are seen berrying.
Of course, you can also check out the newest edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac for winter weather predictions.
What says autumn to you? Please share! Just comment in the box below (and include your location!).
Catherine, our New Media Editor, joined The Old Farmer's Almanac in 2008. She edits content on both this Web site, Almanac.com, and the companion site to The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids publication, Almanac4kids.com. She also pens the Almanac Companion enewsletters and keeps up with readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!