The calendar says September but my Amaryllis, a typically Christmas plant, is blooming in a dark corner of my basement. It has not received a drop of water since spring so why is this supposedly dormant plant putting forth a bright red bloom? On more than one occasion I have been told that the long-range weather forecast is calling for an early snowfall on October 1st. So this begs the question, “does my Amaryllis know something about the upcoming winter?”
The trees behind our home are alive with bird activity. Robins, blue jays, woodpeckers, finches, orioles, cardinals, doves, chickadees and a few species that I will need to find in my bird book are in a never-ending dance foraging among the branches. Are they stocking up for winter or preparing to migrate?
And I must not forget the pair of hummingbirds who have designated the middle of our deck as their personal air strip. They appear suddenly, hover in front of our patio doors, chirping at their reflections and then dash along the line up of plants containing red geraniums, yellow pansies and purple petunias. From our deck they whizz off to the neighbouring hummingbird feeder. They show no fear of people and will retrace their flight path across our deck. They even flew between people sitting on opposite sides of the deck. Sometimes the only indication of their presence is the loud buzzing of the tiny wings.
Back to my original premise; do the plants and birds know something about the upcoming winter? Will these warm, sunny days quickly slip into the cold, blustery days of late fall and winter? Yesterday on ‘Canada AM’, Mark Cullen stated that the first frost for parts of the province is only two or three weeks away. Can it be? Are birds and plants forecasting the upcoming winter?