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Phenology with local naturalist Larry Weber every Friday morning at 8:20 on Northland Morning.

Backyard Almanac: An Above-Average January

A deer standing in a snow-covered forest during the daytime
Carole [Via Flickr]
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Sure, the weather has been chilly, but that's to be expected. The average is typically much colder.

“Here we are on the 13th of January, and we’ve had... only one day that was near zero,” says Larry Weber. "That's almost embarrassing." Temperatures are about ten degrees above normal on average. Though the snow has slowed down a bit, the northland is about 25 inches above average in that category as well.

”Winter has terrific sunsets,” says Weber of the sunsets that continue to be earlier with each passing day. “The angle of the sun is lower, therefore when the sun is setting it tends to linger." Weber calls these sunsets "wrap around" because of how the colors will stretch across the horizon.

“I’ve been watching the birdfeeder every day,” says Weber. “I’ve had pretty good visitors this week.” The list includes four kinds of woodpeckers and Blue Jays. Weber also had a visit from a brown creeper. “They are small... and they actually do creep.” The small birds move up the trunks of trees looking for insects – which these unique birds are able to accomplish even in the wintertime.

“When we have a snowpack… animals choose one of three ways of getting around,” says Weber. Smaller animals will make their way around underneath the snow. A small space created by the warmth from the ground allows for this (animals that travel this way are called subnivean). Other animals are able to traverse above the snow; rabbits and squirrels take this route. Larger animals plunge through the snow; deer and coyotes blaze trails and typically stick to their created pathways.

Ever the outdoorsy type, Larry wants everyone to make the most of these unseasonably warm days. "I would suggest, get out and enjoy it."

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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