Beauty in the cold?
In my research of hibernating animals, I also discovered some animals that thrive in cold weather. Some of those critters caught my eye. This collection features a chilly insect, bird, mammal, and fungi!
The Arctic Woolly Bear Moth is the coolest insect I've seen. Yeah, I couldn't miss out on that pun. It spends its whole life not just in the Arctic, but in the northern regions of the Arctic! You can also find this moth in Greenland and Canada's northern islands. It spends several years as a larva, building up enough energy to move on to its next stage of life. It may sound cool to spend most of your life as a teenager, but they spend the majority of the caterpillar years frozen. The moth thaws out for a short time in the summer they thaw and find food resources. Most Arctic Woolly Bears will go through seven freeze and thaws in their lifetime. The"Woolly" in their name comes from all the insulating hairs found covering their body.
Though the descriptions of this small moth included, drab with very few details, I found this little moth to be quite beautiful. While its wing patterns compared to other moths might seem a bit dull, the Woolly Bear Moth's patterns are more highlighted with shimmering golds and silvers. This simple elegance and almost an heir of Arctic royalty are what give this moth it's beauty.
The other winged animal I chose for this collection was the barn owl. It like the moth has a wintery elegance. The barn owl's face, body, and underwings are white. Even though they have a mixture of buff and gray on their head, back, and upper wings, they can appear all white when seen at night. The Barn Owl has a rounded shape that starts with its smooth rounded head, because it has no ear tuffs, like some owls, and continues down to its rounded wings and short tail feathers. They do have long legs, which are great for catching their rodent prey.
If you have a large open spot of land like a field, meadow, or open grassy area, you might be able to spot one flying low as they look for small rodents. The Barn Owl loves to nest in structures that have cavities in which they can hide, such as abandoned buildings, holes along rock walls, and of course, old barns. Even though Barn Owls are found worldwide, they are not all the same color patterns or sizes. But, the subspecies of Barn Owl that are found in the United States and Canada do have the same plumage patterns and are the same size. Overall, Barn Owls are considered a medium-sized owl. The Barn Owl species are showing some decline in the North-Eastern part of the United States. One way to help this species is to build a Barn Owl nesting box. You can find/download a construction plan for a nesting box at nestwatch.org. There you will find instructions as well as nesting range, nesting habitats, and where/how to attach your nest box!
Check out the next blog to find out about which mammal and fun fungi I chose for this month's collection!
Keep on wandering,