Listen to nature’s sounds and decipher the meanings

These prairie flowers, shooting stars, release pollen from a bumblebee buzzing. (Photo by Jerry Davis)

Most animal sounds, usually called vocalizations and regardless of origin, carry meanings. Sometimes they are calls to others of their kind, attracting mates, sounding alarms, finding food, and in some cases acquiring food.

Insects are common pollinators, which are attracted to a plant offering something including food and shelter. Certain plants, Eastern shooting stars, engage in buzz pollination with bumblebees, with the pollinator making a buzzing sound to get the plant to release pollen.

Simply put, the bumblebee grasps an anther and with muscular vibrations, audible to us, vibrates the anther, causing the pollen to be released and collected by the bee. Pollen is bee food.

Careful observations will note that the bee’s buzzing only occurs when the bee is in a flower, because that’s where the pollen is.

We can begin or further our understanding of nature by making these connections with insects, deer, turkeys and all matter of organisms. What is the animal saying? What is a ruffed grouse saying when he drums on a log?

Categories: Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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