The Naturalist Naturist
By "Biology Bill" Cook
In the last several weeks spring has come to Lake Edun. Spring is a favorite season not just to Eduners suffering from cabin fever, but also to most of the other unclothed creatures who visit the lake at this time of year. In this article I'd like to introduce you to some of the feathered visitors to Lake Edun.
To those of us who are interested in nature, birds are often some of our favorite animals. Unlike most other animals, they are colorful, are active in the daytime, sing pleasant songs, and generally are easy to find and appreciate. Why do birds sing? There are three main reasons. Firstly, early in the season male birds begin to sing away, and the primary message is "I'm an eligible bachelor, come and introduce yourself." Later on, once most individuals have found mates, their main messages are "Honey, where are you? I'm over here" and "This is my home, intruders stay away." Most birds have an extended song used to advertise for mates and to defend territory, and a variety of short chips and twits for communication with mates and offspring. Aside from learning to appreciate the musical qualities of birdsongs, natur(al)ists can also use the fact that each species has a distinctive song to easily census the animals nearby.
There are several groups of avian visitors to Lake Edun. Firstly, there are the familiar birds that stay here all year long. Chicadees, blue jays, crows, nuthatches and woodpeckers are examples of birds that both brave the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Secondly, a large number of birds are here to nest for the summer, but fly south when it gets cold in the fall. Examples of these birds include geese, herons, swallows and most of the birds that you hear singing in the spring. However, this is not the only type of migrant you might meet. Some birds from the far north such as juncos and some sparrows think that Kansas is a warm weather winter destination, and head north in April and May to nest in Canada and the northern plains. Finally, for the experienced naturalist there are many species who merely use Lake Edun as a stopover point on their way through during the fall and spring. The most exciting season is in late April and May when dozens of species stop by for only a week or two,