Spring has arrived, and with it, many friends are returning to Alley Pond, or waking from their brumination and hibernation. Join us this month to enjoy the sights and sounds.
These are some animals to look for when you visit us in April and May:
Eastern Box Turtle
Eastern box turtles feature a sharp, horned beak, stout limbs, and their feet are webbed only at the base.The females have dark eyes, while the males have red eyes. Younger turtles have more vibrant colors than older turtles.
Staying small in size, males grow to up to seven inches, and females to about eight. In the wild, box turtles are known to live over 80 years. They can be found in open grasslands, pastures, or under fallen logs or in moist ground (usually moist leaves or wet dirt). They have also been known to take “baths” in shallow streams and ponds or puddles. Eastern Box turtles brumate in the winter months. These turtles are territorial and can get lost if they are released in a different area.
The sound of hundreds of peepers peeping is quite an experience. We host a Peeper Walk when the temperatures bring them out to sing in April and May. Contact the Center to find out when.
Red Breasted Robin
This North American native migrates back to Queens in February and March. They are some of the earliest migraters and certainly the earliest egg-layers. They will have several broods before departing in the fall and will build a new nest for each brood. The first nest is often built in an evergreen- be sure to look in the denser bushes at the fork of a branch, about 5 to 15 feet up from the ground. They seek marshy areas and aren’t intimidated by humans so APEC is a favorite spot for Robins.
Brown bats play an important role as predators of night-flying insects. They are very efficient hunters capable of catching over 1000 insects in just one hour. Little brown bats concentrate on insects that have an aquatic larval stage, such as mosquitoes, midges, and mayflies. Consequently, they prefer roosts in the vicinity of water. Although they prefer to forage over water, they will also hunt in open areas where they catch moths, beetles, and other flying insects. Having such a variety of food makes the ponds and meadows of Alley Pond a utopia for brown bats.