NewsSee what's happening around Audubon Community Nature Center.
Fall creeps south like a devouring beast, rampaging over the hills and valleys and sending animals fleeing from its path. Tiny birds escape to the south in September, when the first hint of the fall beast’s arrival shows in the changing color of a few leaves here and there. Warblers and hummingbirds wing to a whole other continent to get away, some travelling over 1,000 miles to find a place that stays warm through the winter. Groundhogs fatten up till they look like furry balls of Jell-O with legs, running with jiggling and joggling bodies to their underground winter burrows. Chipmunks compete for the fall seed harvest, chipping loudly in the forest as they maneuver to store up the most acorns.
Everyone has certain sounds they gravitate towards, or that hold extra meaning to them. Some people revel in the song of their favorite bird, or the swish of long grass in the wind. Others may listen with reverie to the hooting of an owl or the distant yelps of a coyote in the dark.
There are many sounds I love in nature, but it’s the chorus of the katydid that grabs at my heartstrings. The ch-ch-ch sound of the males calling in late summer evenings and nights is a sign that the hot days of summer are nearly over and fall is on the way. It also instantly transports me back into memories of my childhood.
In the Nature Center, we have a room full of dead birds. It’s a small room, off a corner of the live animal room on the first floor. The birds are the collection of Ralph Simpson, a self-taught naturalist from Warren, Pennsylvania. He collected and preserved most of the specimens in the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s. Shooting and collecting was still an acceptable way to study birds at the time.
A collection like this is impossible to create today because we now have legal protections for most wildlife. And the way we view the natural world and our role have changed. Many find this small room fascinating. There are warblers and songbirds, hawks and owls, shorebirds and ducks. There are over one hundred preserved birds. Looking at a bird that is still and up close rarely happens in the wild. And some of the birds in that room are no longer found in the wild.
It feels odd to think about spring as we come upon the fall equinox, but plants are preparing for colder weather. Many of them are also preparing for the following spring as well. Many people purchase seeds for summer gardening in early spring or, for those with full vegetable or fruit gardening in mind, even mid-winter. However, wild trees, shrubs and grasses do not have a handy seed catalog to order their seeds from. There are some plants that will produce seeds in the spring and summer, spread and grow, then wait for the following spring to grow and spread again. However, many others take a different route and instead, produce their seeds in the fall. These seeds are prepared to lie dormant for months until the weather cycles back into a season of growth.
There are so many things happening outside on any given day that there is no way that anyone can see everything that is going on. Every moment is full of drama: birth, death, near escapes, and more. It all happens mostly out of our awareness, but those moments when you see a turtle laying eggs or hatching? Those moments create memories that last a lifetime.
Time moves faster as you age, or at least your perception of time does. This is a phenomenon that I’m sure many people have experienced; I certainly have. Summer months used to be endless as a child enjoying a break from school. Now they seem to fly by. Each yearly milestone, like holidays, birthday, vacation, seem to repeat at a faster rate.
Audubon Community Nature Center
1600 Riverside Road
Jamestown, NY 14701
Hours and Admission
Nature Center Hours:
Monday - Saturday
10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
1:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Members - Free
Non-member Adult (ages 16+) - $6
Non-member Child (ages 3 - 15) - $2
Children ages 2 and under - Free
Maximum cost for a Family - $15
Free admission to the Nature Center for SNAP/EBT cardholders.
Free admission for all on Sundays
Grounds and Outdoor Exhibits:
Open daily, year round from dawn to dusk free of charge
Thank you, Community Partners
Audubon Community Partners make a significant financial contribution each year because they believe that every child deserves the opportunity to have a real and healthy connection to nature.
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