Thankful Thirsty Thursday

Ol’ Wally here today. Seems there are some human celebrations going on inside your warm burrows, while outside…

Look who is back on the pond!

Hooded Mergansers enjoying a warmer location than their Canadian summer lakes now offer.

Ol’ Wally hopes you humans will get outside and enjoy a bit of nature with your holiday celebrations!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ol’ Wally, Nutmeg, Hickory and Miz Flora

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

We’re all curling up against the cold…

but what is this?

I’ll check back for your guesses in the comments!


It doesn’t actually take low temperatures for Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota, to curl up. As soon as the seeds are developed, the plant dries up.

The lacy umbels of flowers pull into the center and form what some humans call ‘bird’s nest’.

It’s very easy to see why! Look carefully and you can see the eggs–the tiny brown seeds of the Queen Anne’s Lace.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Can you tell what this is? And why would looking at it be important?

I’ll check in for your guesses in the comments later!


Well, we had a couple of people worried that this was a diseased leaf! No, not at all. A number of leaves, including this oak species, have tufts of hair in the axils of the veins on the lower side of the leaves. In fact, it is one of the ways to identify this leaf.

The second on this tree’s leaves, is the space between the lobes. The oak leaves in this family, the red oak group, are tricky to tell apart. Of course we squirrels, who pick up the acorns each year, find them easy to identify by the shape and size of the acorns and their caps, a third identification method. But acorns aren’t always on the trees.

So, a look at the leaves: These oak leaves have what’s called ‘variable sinuses’, meaning the space between the indentations is not regular. That, plus the tufts of hair on the back, means these leaves come from a Black Oak, Quercus veluntina.

It’s a stately tree, which we need more of on our rapidly changing planet. Maybe this season, you humans can gather acorns and bury them, and then forget to dig them up?


One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

What tree–that’s a hint!–did these leaves come from? (the green ones)

Post your guesses in the comments and we’ll check back later for correct answers!


Possibly this tree is more recognizable int he spring when this is on the ground below it.

Or this.

In they spring, you’d look up and see…

Or now in the fall:

These are the leaves of the mulberry tree. A few species of the Moraceae family are native to North America and others growing here originated in Europe and China–where they are famously fed to silk worms. We haven’t tried to identify which are which.

Mulberry trees produce their fruits in spring and early summer and are prolific. Plentiful berries being eaten by birds–like bluebirds, orioles, tanagers and warblers–lead to the mulberry tree spreading easily. It’s also a fast and aggressive grower. A shoot will be a two-story tree in a few years, and the roots can pop up sidewalks, so be wary if you see a newly-growing woody-stemmed plant with leaves that you don’t quite recognize as the same as other trees in your vicinity. If you have a woodsy area away from sidewalks and foundations to host a mulberry tree, wildlife will thank you, and there may be enough berries left for you to eat as well.

Remember, verify your identification of anything you humans plan to eat with a source other than we squirrels are giving you!


Are you hearing the roar in your neighborhood? We are.

Leaves being removed.

Homes being removed. Food. Insects. The base of the food chain.

Save the leaves! Keep them on your land, under your trees, around your shrubs. Even an undisturbed corner helps insects gain a foothold.

Share this image in as many ways as you can–The Xerces Society wants to get the word out!