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

Backyard Almanac: Fairy Shrimp and Other Big Topics

fairy shrimp with eggs
Steve Johnson

The snow arrived with a fury, and now it's steadily melting away. As Judy Gibbs sees it, there are some questions as to what Spring will look like this year for Northland plants and animals.

The melting snow has filled vernal ponds and created homes for a unique crustacean, the fairy shrimp. They are nearly microscopic shrimp that live in vernal pools. Even after the ponds dry up in the summer, the eggs can survive and thrive in the muck that remains. Other animals that are enjoying the warm weather are the redpolls and bohemian waxwings. These birds are both seen and heard as they flit about, relying on tiny seeds and birch trees to keep them full.

With the weather warming up, small blossoms will be more and more common on forest walks and hikes. Keep on the lookout for small red flowers on hazelnut bushes, these are the female parts of the flower that will soon be pollinated. The warm weather has also led to a robust season for maple syrup collecting. As to other edible production, the jury's still out as to how the odd winter will affect the upcoming growing season.

You can hear Backyard Almanac every Friday at 8:20am on Northland Morning.

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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