Some questions answered

What is meant by interrelationships of species?

In nature, knowing animal and plant behaviour and how they interact with each other is more important than knowing the names of many species.

Most of us are familiar with the predator-prey relationship, which is just the beginning of multiple connections. But we’ll mention briefly two little known ones.

First, sapsuckers and trees.

The photo of a section of dead birch shows the holes, sometimes referred to as wells, that the yellow-bellied sap- sucker has made to collect sap in early spring. Not only does this bird lap up the sap, but hummingbirds depend on it for nourishment, as there are few flowers at this time of year. Furthermore, insects are attracted to the tree, become stuck in the sticky liquid, providing more food for the sap- sucker and other birds that may be in the area.

The second example we’ll look at is the mycorrhizal relationship between trees and some fungi. The main part of the fungi, which is under- ground, taps into the root of the tree. The mycelia (root like parts) takes food (sap) from the tree and provides minerals that the tree needs to manufacture food.

Note, in any environment, there are multiple relationships. Not just the two in the examples above.

Wells are left in birch bark, where sapsuckers have had a meal.

What is the difference between an interruption of birds and migration?

Migration is a predictable movement of birds that fly from their breeding ranges to a warmer climate in the south. They generally go to the same area each year and return to their nesting areas in the spring. Every year, the migration is repeated.

An irruption of birds refers to the occasional movement of birds because of a crash in their food supply. Large flocks visit fields and forests to the south of their nesting grounds, searching for seeds or berries. This winter, huge flocks of red polls and bohemian waxwings irrupted to Fort Frances and surrounding areas.