Audio Guide to the Seasons

Audio Guide to Summer: June 26

Jun 26, 2020
Margot Wynkoop

Fireflies are out and have been spotted in northern Michigan this week. The best place to see fireflies is in tall grass where there is little other light.  The flashing lights are a signal to attract mates. 

Fireflies are carnivores.  In their larval state they eat slugs and snails, so they’re good for your garden and your lawn.

Audio Guide to Spring: June 19

Jun 19, 2020
Cheryl Bartz

It’s time for snapping turtles to lay their eggs.  Snapping turtles are easy to identify because of their large size, the spikes on their tail and their strong, muscular legs.  It’s now peak nesting season for snappers and other Michigan turtles. That’s a pretty good time to see them actually.  Jim Harding, a retired Wildlife Outreach Specialist for the Michigan State University Museum, says they need to move into the open to lay their eggs. 

Audio Guide to Spring: June 12

Jun 12, 2020
Green frog photo
Baroness / Creative Commons

Green frogs

The rest of June is the peak time of year to hear green frogs calling.  “Green frog” is actually a species name.  These frogs might be green, yellow, olive or brown.

Kathy Gray, who volunteers with the Michigan DNR Frog and Toad Survey says, “it’s only the males who sing and they are trying to attract a female. That is how they sound. Like a banjo string. Just one kind-of-not-in-tune banjo string being plucked.”

Audio Guide to Spring: June 5

Jun 5, 2020
Captain-tucker CC

Monarch Butterflies are arriving in Michigan.  They overwinter in Mexico.  But it’s not actually the same monarch that arrives in Michigan that left Mexico. For some reason the monarch can make the trip from Michigan down to Mexico, but to return takes a few generations of butterflies.  So the one that arrives in Michigan might be the great great grandchild of the one that left Mexico.

Audio Guide to Spring: May 29

May 29, 2020

It’s the peak of fawning season in Northern Michigan.

Steve Griffith, wildlife biologist with DNR, says right about now does are leaving their groups to find secluded places to give birth.  “As soon as the fawn can manage to walk, she’ll move them to a new spot and hide them.  And she’ll leave them for 8, 10, 12 hours at a time, feeding, but feeding close by, then she’ll come back and nurse. People think they’re abandoned. Very likely not the case. The mother is nearby.”

Audio Guide to Spring: May 22

May 22, 2020
Bill Erickson

On the Guide this week:

Kirtland’s Warblers will be showing up in the jack pine forests around Gaylord and Grayling this week.  There’s been good news about this bird in recent years. If you went back to 1971, there were just 167 pairs of Kirtland’s Warblers in the world.  In 2017, there were 2,000 pairs. That allowed it to be reclassified as a threatened species rather than an endangered species. 

Audio Guide to Spring: May 15

May 15, 2020
Bill Erickson

This week on the guide: 

This week is prime time for bird watching up north. You can see all kinds of colorful birds like Indigo Buntings, Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers and a whole range of warblers and they’re easier to see because the trees haven’t leafed out yet. 

Audio Guide to Spring: May 8

May 8, 2020
Emily Cook

This week on the guide:

Early season trout fly fishing centers around the Hendrickson fly hatch that some call “The Gentlemen’s Hatch.”

Cheryl Bartz

On the guide this week, hear how 50 degrees is a threshold for all kinds of spring activity. Also the true and false morels, feasting warblers and the salamander migration.



What are you seeing?  Call us with your nature sightings at 231-276-4444.


Thanks to Cheryl Bartz, Larry Mawby and Leslie Hamp for production help.

Cheryl Bartz

On the guide this week: the sky dance of woodcocks, the appetite and torpor of bats and the first spring flowering ephemerals.



Cheryl Bartz

On the guide today: how eastern chipmunks use social distancing, the danger of overharvesting ramps and the sonic power of ruffed grouse.

The video we mention, produced by the Ruffed Grouse Society, is here.

Thanks to Cheryl Bartz, Larry Mawby and Leslie Hamp for production help.

Leslie Hamp

On the audio guide today: the first butterflies of spring, nesting bald eagles and oak wilt.

Also, a good reason to put off raking up all that leafy debris in your yards. 

You can report sightings of turtles and other reptiles and amphibians to the Michigan Herp Atlas.