Fall in the Aboretum

Sorghastrum nutans

Fall in the Arboretum is a time of color and change.  Every day a different palette of color and texture presents itself. Prairie grasses are brown, gold, red and purple.  Late blooming asters are purple, gold and white.  Maple, aspen and oak begin providing contrast in the forests.  Seeds of all these plants have been ripening over the summer and now float or fall to the ground to reproduce its own kind.  That is if they are not eaten by a hungry animal or collected by the Arb Crew for a restoration project!  This is a busy time of year for the animals in the Arb as well as the Arb staff.  Seeds are collected, dried, cleaned and stored for planting in our forest, savanna, and prairie restorations.

Animals are busy getting ready for the winter. Everywhere the red and grey squirrels are searching and storing acorns, walnuts and hickory nuts.  Migratory birds are grouping up and heading south while other birds are getting ready to stay with us for the long cold winter. Blue Jays, like squirrels, are storing acorns in caches. Chickadees also hide food items like seeds to eat later.

Sound is everywhere too! Stop and listen to the rattle of the wild indigo pods in the wind.  A Red-tailed Hawk screams overhead announcing her displeasure at sharing the prairie with you.  A red squirrel scolds, a walnut thumps to the ground.  Enjoy the sun, sky and sounds of fall in the Arb – winter is right around the corner!

Fall Birds