Summer WildlifeJust like people, animals appreciate trees' cooling shade on hot summer days. Thickly leaved tree limbs are also excellent hiding spots. There's so much happening in and under the trees! Here are some animals and insects that are particularly active in summer.
Zoom. Zing. Zowey—did you see that? A zippy visit by a ruby-throated hummingbird is one of summer's special surprises. They buzz in, hover over bright flowers (up to 3,000 a day!) and use their long tongues to sip nectar. In the process, they catch pollen on their heads to carry out one of nature's most fascinating processes, pollination.
Where to look: In the gardens, as well as savannas and woodlands.
Spend an afternoon looking for the 25 butterfly species that flitter between the ground and treetops. These include magnificent swallowtails, pretty painted ladies, and bright monarchs. Butterflies probe for nectar in flowers, which they find using ultraviolet markings on petals and other parts.
Where to look: Most everywhere on the grounds, but especially in gardens, Schulenberg Prairie, and the East Woods.
Find these furry, dark brown or black mammals doggy-paddling in the water—or diving under it for up to 17 minutes! They are looking for plants and the occasional frog to eat. Muskrats have webbed feet, but their tails do most of the work as they swim.
Where to look: Along the edges of Meadow Lake and other ponds and wetlands.