November is often known as the "in between season." Mother Nature begins settling down for the cold months ahead. Here in New Hampshire the outside world is turning brown and gray, yet look closely for the yellow beech and aspen leaves and the green mosses and ferns which provide contrasting shocks of vibrant color. Plants, like milkweed, are bursting open their seed cases and releasing their seeds to the winds. Deer mice are one of the many animals that collect these seeds, sometimes leaving the fluff attached to the seeds, sometimes using it in their nests. As winter approaches trees are converting starch into sugars, and lowering the freezing point of their cells. Migration season is in full swing and yet many hardy stragglers (robins, sparrows, kingfishers) are hanging on. Most of the bird world will quiet down this month, but some flocking species (grosbeaks and finches) are known to be quite noisy. Males of many migrating bird species don't fly as far south as the females, perhaps so they can return north earlier to claim a high quality territory. Healthy bear cubs now weigh at least 75 pounds and will soon follow their mothers into their winter dens. Snowshoe hares are all white by the end of November, and like some of us are praying for a good snow.
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