Monday, October 6, 2008

Little creatures prepare for winter - Cone Cache

I was not out to collect cones today, lucky for some little creature
of the woods. I suspect it is a red squirrel that made this little cache of black spruce cones.

The squirrel will climb up a tree and bite off all the branches that have cones on them. It is a smart way of getting the maximum number of cones to the ground with the least amount of energy.

The clumps of cones are then removed one at a time and put into a neat little pile. Much like a beaver that will store food under water for winter a red squirrel will store cones that will be under the snow to be retrieved later.

Each cone can contain between 15 to 30 tiny seeds.

At the bottom of the trees in the area are many little chopped off branches with the cones removed.

While I was taking the picture of the cone cache another creature let me know they were getting ready for winter. I could hear a flock of Sandhill cranes overhead. They are starting to fly together as they prepare to fly south. Their chevron flight may look like Canada geese when they are far away, but the low croaking sounds give them away.

A small creek I walked beside was frozen over with very thin ice.