New Hampshire Wildlife News
by Certified Wildlife Biologist, Eric P. Orff

New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff

Spring Butterfly Trees

Sunday 05/09/2021

Are you paying attention? I mean really, really paying attention to what's happening in New Hampshire. Right now?
First of all, we are now having what I would call butterfly trees. Although these trees are scattered about they do not attract butterflies in any extraordinary way. It is the trees themselves that are so butterfly like. You need to pay way more attention to them. For these are the trees that seem to undergo a metamorphosis before our very eyes. These are the trees that for what ever reason, be it a nice sunny spot, or some ground conditions just explode with leaves in just hours. An apple tree did that right here the other day. Yes there were breaking buds at days beginning. Then boom. Suddenly the whole tree was bursting with color by late afternoon. In just a few hours the tree nearly completely changed color. We all have these trees in our lives it just takes a little extra vigilance to appreciate them. So I call them butterfly trees.  
And isn't New Hampshire undergoing a metamorphosis right now. Like a butterfly emerging from it's cocoon so too is the Granite State emerging from winter into it's spring glory as beautiful as any butterfly you can imagine.
While we may not ourselves be changing much, much of Mother Nature around us is in full blown metamorphosis. 
Like sounds for instance. By day, or even by hour, the bird calls and songs are changing. Picking up in intensity and by variety. Yes. Just coming to us out of thin air. Magically!  Early May is when more than a dozen different species of warblers seem to emerge here as if from some winter dormant cocoon. Same with frog croaks and toad trills. Yes most of them were cocooned up in the muddy bottom of a wetland pool or under the leaf litter of the forest floor. But suddenly, as if from now where, but everywhere, they too emerge. Yes really butterfly-like. Even the trees have changed their winter song of a gusting winter's day whoosh to the gentle rustle of swaying leaves. And soon, maybe too soon, the buzz of that mosquito as it look for a meal about your neck.
Oh and smells. Talk about a metamorphosis. Winter is just so sterile for fragrances. Then BOOM the sweet smells of spring  burst forth as if from a cocoon with varieties and bold flavors rivaling the sounds from the birds. Seems like everything is competing for our senses. I hope you are taking the time to gather them all up.
So, so many transitions in such a short span of spring. Tiny frog and toad eggs quickly metamorphosis into tadpole and then suddenly tiny tot toads that scatter about the forest floors. Oh how quickly a toad egg grows legs. And birds. Yes it seems that bird eggs suddenly grow wings. Fact is most of our smaller birds only incubate their little eggs for a couple weeks. Then in just another couple weeks, or less, they too grow feathered wings. And then leap off the precipice of the nest edge into the future. Such a metamorphosis.
So this Mother's Day let us all be thankful for what Mother Earth is giving by day and by the hour. Wonderful changes that brings wonderful changes to our own lives.
Thank You Mother Earth.

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