It snowed at Crossroads on Halloween, and though no Trick-or-Treaters appeared at the door of the Collins Learning Center, a ghostly owl materialized. It was not an apparition. It really was an owl, a mount of a Snowy Owl. On Halloween morning, taxidermist Mike Orthober delivered and placed the magnificent white bird in our Wisconsin Wildlife Exhibit.
Now that I think about it, no Trick- or-Treaters appeared at my home either. It’s not surprising really. The house is rather isolated at the top of a dark hill, and it’s hard to see. I’m told by that even when they find the house, guests have a hard time finding the door.
Coming to my house would not be a good use of Trick –or-Treating time or energy. I’m guessing most of the Trick or Treaters visited Third Avenue on Saturday or visited neighborhoods with lots of houses, lit up with orange lights and spooky decorations. Bright colorful decorations attract kids because they know that it is likely that sweet treats (maybe even full sized candy bars) will be offered.
Kids, even the very young, understand that it’s just more efficient to visit a cluster of houses where the most high calorie sweets can be gathered in the shortest period of time. Insects understand that too.
Pollinating insects searching for sweet nectar or generous sources of pollen will not waste time visiting an isolated flower. Instead bees and other pollinators are attracted to clumps and clusters of colorful flowers where they know they will find copious quantities of food. Flowers with bright yellow centers must glow like porch lights for the bees searching for pollen.
Just as Trick-or-treaters don’t waste time looking for the front door to my house, most pollinators avoid complex flowers. With all those confusing petals, it’s just hard to find the nectar, if the flower has nectar at all.
In listing “Pollinator Friendly Practices” in the Prairie Nursery Native Plant Catalog, Consulting Ecologist Neil Diboll wrote, “Avoid modern cultivars and hybrids, especially the ‘double-blooms” which can be changed in scent and shape just enough that pollinators cant’ recognize them or access the nectar.”
I mention Neil Diboll because (drum roll!!!) next Thursday, November 16, Neil Diboll will be at Crossroads. The Wild Ones of the Door Peninsula organization is bringing him to the Collins Learning Center to present the lecture “Prairie and Savanna Plants for a Pollinator Garden. The 7:00 lecture will be free and open to the public.
But this week, thanks to our friends at Write On Door County, we will host award-winning children’s author John Coy on Friday, November 10 at 6:00. John will have spent the week visiting with elementary students throughout the county. This is a chance for the entire family to hear John read and talk about his life as a writer and to get copies of their books signed! This program is presented free and is open to all ages. Light refreshments will be served.
Crossroads is a donor-supported learning preserve, made up of The Cove, Big Creek, and Ida Bay preserves. The Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan, is open 2:00-4:30 daily and during scheduled eventer. The preserves and restrooms are open, free of charge, 24/7.
Friday, November 10
2:00 Friday Film: The Snowy Owl
To celebrate our most recent wildlife acquisition, the Friday film is a documentary about Snowy owls. Lecture hall of the Collins Learning Center. Free and open to the public.
6:00 An Evening with Children’s Author John Coy
Bring the whole family to share in a wonderful evening with award-winning children’s author John Coy. John will have spent the week visiting with elementary students throughout the county. This is a chance for the entire family to hear John read and talk about his life as a writer and to get copies of their books signed! This program is presented free and is open to all ages. Light refreshments will be served. Lecture hall of the Collins Learning Center.
Monday, November 13 6:30 Friends of Crossroads
Crossroads volunteers (and those who would like to be Crossroads volunteers) will gather in the lower level to plan for decorating, celebrating and planning and doing during the coming months. Refreshments and door prizes. Visitors are encouraged.