Woodchucks are called groundhogs and whistle pigs for a good reason: they spend six months gorging themselves before going into hibernation. If they don’t double their weight, they might not survive the winter. (Thanks to Chris Mayer for sharing her expertise and Ariana van den Akker for her photography.)
Those splotches on rocks, tree trunks and twigs? Lichens! Lichens are actually a symbiosis between two major divisions of life, neither of which is a plant. And you can find them everywhere, as long as the air is not polluted.
Songbirds aren’t born with the ability to sing proper songs. Instead, they have to listen to adults in order to learn their songs, and then they need to practice. Adult females can distinguish the perfected songs of experienced males from the “baby babble” of young birds. If you listen carefully, so can you.
How do plants pack their growing leaves inside such small buds? There are four main methods: leaves can be folded, rolled up, coiled, or pleated. The way a particular species packs its leaves has less to do leaf size or shape than with the plant’s evolutionary history.
Trees provide us shelter, fuel, food, protection from climate change, and beauty. But they also have deep spiritual importance. In a treetop conversation, forest ecologist Nalini Nadkarni points out the connection between trees and religion.