The winds of September were more like a polar bear, than winds like a lion introducing March and spring.
September’s winds were accompanied by several downpours and bone-chilling cold.
Many shuddered and goose bumps were common because of the change in temperature – dropping 30 degrees day-to-day.
It was like jumping seasons, past fall and the month of October to mid-November. Autumn officially began Monday – after several days of near seasonal temperatures to end September.
Temperatures have been above freezing, but the winds reintroduced the polar effect as the thermometer dropped 30 degrees in a day.
Statistics from Aug. 20 to Sept. 18 showed an average temperature for the area of 45 to 50 degrees and three to six inches of rain. Green Bay recorded three days with a high of 50, the most in five years.
Weather is not the only indicator that fall is here.
Sandhill cranes gathered in large numbers to gorge on grain, left in recently harvested fields, before heading to their winter grounds in the Platte River area.
Only a few stragglers remained last week.
Black birds resembled targets in a shooting gallery as they banded together, perched pole-to-pole, on single and double strands of wire.
By weekend most black birds, like the cranes, had moved on.
My daily trips to the End Stool often include encountering a variety of wildlife – most often deer, turkeys and squirrels.
Acorns are a delicacy for all three species.
When wild turkeys were introduced into the state in 1976, concerns were that, while deer might play with antelope, the same would not be true with the big upland game bird.
That fear has been allayed. Proof is seeing a deer and turkey feeding a few feet apart under a neighbor’s tree, close to the house and the intersection of roads.
Deer are feeding in the soybean field adjacent to another neighbor’s home. “There are often a dozen or more deer there at dusk,” he said.
I have only seen one identifiable buck in recent weeks. It passed in front of my car early morning – the headlights defining its antlers – as it crossed the road from one drive way to another, stopping in a field, to glance from whence it came.
Assessing the turkey hatch is difficult, because of the difference in broods and the flocks forming.
One hen regularly herds her brood along the ditch line, and the six poults are small, indicating a late hatch.
Another hen is only slightly bigger than her five poults. She is a drill sergeant in command. Sunday, the birds were lined up along the edge of the road and stood at attention, while I slowly drove by.
There is an old maid – probably an outcast from the harem because age has taken its toll – that regularly patrols the area around the house, picking at the seeds and bugs. As I write this, she is strutting in the front yard under a pine, an hour after patrolling the area behind the house.
Somehow I feel a kinship.
Arguably, the turkey is the most successful introduction of a species in game management history, especially in Wisconsin.
Many erroneously complain wolves were introduced by the state Department of Natural Resources, because they have increased in numbers to the point of being a detriment because of their predatory nature.
Wolves were an endangered species in the Western Great Lakes Region until 2009 when the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service removed them from the list and gave management to the state DNR.
The wolf – like deer which migrated south from the north woods, where they were more prevalent when I was young – established packs as their numbers and packs increased in neighboring states, crossing borders.
Adrian Wydeven, a DNR large animal ecologist, and Eric Anderson, a wildlife management professor, both with ties to UW-Stevens Point, were often-used sources chronicling the increasing number of wolves in the state.
Wydeven chaired the Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee that included Anderson and more than 20 other members, when wolf management was given to the state by the F&WS in 2009.
They and many others had been involved in the wolf program and large animal management for several years. Management, including hunting, is reviewed and updated.
Nature sometimes gets a boost, such as the turkey introduction, and other times charts its own course, ignoring man’s invisible borders, as species expand their territory.