It’s the time of year when many of us make wish lists about what we would like to find under our trees. Here are some Chesapeake Bay watershed creatures, and lists of what they might want to find in or under a tree as well as under water or the ground. Can you match each animal to its list? Answers are below.
Eastern screech owl
A. Bird feeder with oily back sunflower seeds or safflower seeds. Trees or shrubs to seek shelter from such predators as hawks, owls, snakes, squirrels and cats.
B. Insects, acorns, nuts, fruit, seeds, grains. Eggs, nestlings as well as small dead or injured animals. Preferably near oak trees.
C. Fruit, seeds, worms, insects, voles, mice, rabbits, muskrats, small marsh birds & their eggs. A swamp, forest or farm on which to live.
D. Fish, insects, plants, minnows. Don’t worry about me peeking at my gifts before Christmas. I will be buried in the mud until spring, when it gets warmer.
E. Plenty of fungal spores, plant material, animal remains and bacteria to eat. A moist home.
F. Caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies. Any insects that fall into the water, such as ants, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets. Crayfish, frogs, mollusks and small fish, too. Cool, pure water with a gravelly bottom.
G. Plankton! Reefs or rocky surfaces on which to grow.
H. Bottom-dwelling crustaceans, small fish, fish larvae. Warm, shallow water.
I. Moths, crayfish, earthworms, frogs, lizards, rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits, swallows, thrushes, jays, grouse, doves, shorebirds, woodpeckers. Tree cavity or large nesting box.
J. Lots of fish, with a frog, crab or small mammal for variety. Riverbank with a hollow to make a burrow.
A. Cardinal, B. Blue jay, C. Red fox, D. Painted turtle, E. Springtail, F. Brook trout, G. Eastern oyster, H. Brief squid, I. Eastern screech owl, J. River otter