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bald eagle


Bald eagle

January 30, 2015


By Annie Reid
Westborough Community Land Trust

What’s my name? Take the Nature Notes quiz

Here we are in January, the depth of winter, but you might have noticed that the days are already getting slightly longer. By the end of the month, this trend will be more obvious. In anticipation of the sights and sounds of nature in 2015, consider reviewing what you might have seen or heard last year by taking our annual Nature Notes quiz. It’s meant to be more of a memory-jogger and interest-grabber than a stumper.

Quiz: What’s my name?

To take the quiz, read the short descriptions below of wild plants and animals featured in Nature Notes in 2014. Remind yourself of what you might enjoy in our natural environment in the coming year by matching the descriptions below with the names in the alphabetical list that follows.

Choose your answers from the drop down lists. Check your answers by clicking the "Show Answers" button. The answer page will contain links to the 2014 “Nature Notes” columns so you can re-read them as a way of preparing to enjoy nature in 2015. Or for that matter, you can read any of more than 200 past columns.

Match these descriptions with possible answers from the list below:

1.   I come here for the winter, traveling in a small flock and eating seeds on the ground around bird feeders, where you can watch the flock’s “pecking order” in action as dominant birds assert themselves.

2.   I’m a fish native to Massachusetts ponds and lakes, with a chain-like pattern on my long, slim body.

3.   I’m a common game fish with a big mouth, introduced into Massachusetts ponds long ago. In shallow areas in spring, males make fish nests, where females lay eggs and males then guard newly hatched fry.

4.   Listen for my exuberant song as you walk near old fields in the spring, as I sing 5-15 different songs to proclaim my territory and attract females.

5.   Around Mother’s Day, start looking for my unusual little 7-petal white blossoms in local woods.

6.   I’m a spring wildflower and a dwarf in comparison to a larger relative known for its medicinal properties (and made scarce by over-collecting).

7.   Hummingbirds and butterflies love to come to my dangling red, lantern-like flowers.

8.   I’m a tiny native bird that nests in Massachusetts. Males are flashy, but females build a nest only as big as a walnut shell, held together with silk stolen from spider webs. When my chicks hatch, they are the size of bumblebees.

9.   A scavenger and a fish-eater, I’m also a national symbol. Formerly I was federally listed as an endangered species, but I reside in Massachusetts today thanks to a restoration program started 30 years ago after DDT had drastically reduced my U.S. populations.

10.   I sing a buzzing song in late summer and have jumping legs, wings, an external skeleton, and green blood.

11.   If you like pink, look for me in late summer, when you might find me resting in an evening primrose flower during the day or flying around an outdoor light at night.

12.   I’m a white goldenrod – the only one in the eastern U.S.

13.   Like other goldenrods, I’m a good source of nectar for bees and butterflies, but I’m also a late-season goldenrod.

14.   You’re most likely to find me swimming in water or basking on a bank nearby, but don’t worry, I’m NOT poisonous.

15.   When I sing, I say my name. I specialize in catching flying insects and like to nest under bridges or porches.

16.   Our woods wouldn’t be the same without me, and my long needles grow in bundles of five.

Possible answers:
- Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
- Chain pickerel (Esox niger)
- Dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis)
- Downy goldenrod (Solidago puberula)
- Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)
- Eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
- Grasshopper
- Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)
- Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon)
- Primrose moth (Schinia florida)
- Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
- Silverrod (Solidago bicolor)
- Song sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
- Starflower (Trientalis borealis)
- White pine, eastern (Pinus strobus)
- Wild columbine, eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Nature Notes is printed in The Westborough News on behalf of WCLT (Westborough Community Land Trust). Report your own local nature sightings (or check out what others have seen) on WCLT's Facebook page! Find more information about enjoying nature in Westborough, including trail maps and a calendar of events, at the WCLT website

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