In A Nutshell

Mark your calendar Saturday, November 20 for the annual cane syrup and blacksmith demonstrations at our Barnyard Exhibit. See photos from last year's demo: Cane Syrup


Our winter hours are: Monday - Saturday 9-5, Sunday 12-5. 

Dauset Trails will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day.

Our Horse Trails are closed through January 1 for firearm hunting season.


Persimmon tree 

 

  Persimmons Predict the Weather?

persimmon fruit

persimmon seed
  "spoon" shaped embryo

 persimmon seeds

     Did you know the seed of a persimmon can predict the weather? According to folklore, the seed holds the clue that predicts the severity of winter months ahead.

     Cut open a persimmon seed lengthwise. Look at the white growth (embryo) in the middle of the gray pulp.

  • If the shape of the embryo looks like a spoon, you may get a lot of snow. The spoon indicates lots of shoveling work.
  • If the embryo looks like a knife, the winter will be cutting cold.
  • If the embryo looks like a fork, the winter will be mild with a light dusting of snow.

   12 seeds were cut open from a Persimmon tree growing at Dauset Trails. One embryo looked like a spoon. The rest of the embryos looked like knives. Some of the seeds are pictured at left. We will have to wait and see if the seeds are correct.  

 


Nature's Cleaning Crew

Black Vultures
Black Vultures

W hat kind of bird of prey does not have to capture its meal? A vulture. A vulture is considered a bird of prey even though they usually do not catch their prey. Their niche in the natural world is to eat   carrion . The vulture plays an important role as a scavenger by cleaning the landscape and roadways of animal remains.

In Georgia, there are two species of vultures: Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) and Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura )  . Here are some interesting facts about each:

Black Vultures:

  • have a shorter tail and flap their white-tipped wings more frequently (than Turkey Vultures). 
  • find their meals by using keen eyesight.
  • make only grunting and hissing sounds. They lack a syrinx - the voice organ of birds.
  • lay eggs in caves or hollow trees or on the bare ground.
  • raise two chicks each year and feed them by regurgitation.
  • vomit food when disturbed to scare away predators. This also reduces their weight to help them easily fly away.
  • often defecate on their own legs, using the evaporation of the water in the feces and/or urine to cool themselves.


Turkey Vultures:

  • have a longer tail. Their darker wings are held in the shape of a "V" when gliding. They glide more than flap.
  • are named for the red colored head of the Wild Turkey,   Melliagris gallipavo

     Turkey Vulture

  • find food with their keen sense of smell and eyesight.
  • talons are the weakest of all vultures. For this reason, they cannot catch or carry their prey. 
  • eat, then fly back to the nest and regurgitate the food into their chick's open beaks.
  • gorge themselves when carrion is abundant, and then sit to digest their food. 
  • vomit on predators.
  • The genus Cathartes means "purifier".

Vultures are protected under the   Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 .

A group of vultures is called a "wake" or "venue". A group circling in the air is called a "kettle". 

While driving, use caution when approaching vultures in the road. Their full bellies make them sluggish and slower to move out of your way. The next time you venture past a wake of vultures feasting on a dead animal, you will be able to identify them and appreciate them for cleaning up our communities.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Turkey_vulture_Bluff.jpg  
http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/jrr/v028n02/p00073-p00078.pdf


Dauset Trails Nature Center | 360 Mt. Vernon Rd.  Jackson GA  30233 |  p. (770) 775-6798   f. (770) 775-6863  dausettrails.com   

Dauset Trails Nature Center's mission is to provide quality environmental education, outdoor recreation, and an understanding of early farm life through close and intimate contact with Georgia's preserved flora and fauna.