Like birds, butterflies can be large or small, brightly colored or drab in hue. Little Brown Butterflies are just as hard to identify as Little Brown Birds. The challenge is to notice the small distinctions in markings, habitat and behavior to find them in a field guide. They do tend to land a little closer to people though, when they land at all! The skills learned identifying birds are equally valuable with butterflies. Many of the Tiger Swallowtail butterflies seem injured. How can they fly with big chunks ripped out of their wings? A friend says many butterflies have "eyes" and bold patterns near their tails to fool predators into attacking the wrong end of the insect. A torn tail on a swallowtail is the mark of a survivor!
The Cicada Killer Wasp specializes in catching and killing cicadas. At 1 1/2," cicada killers are the largest wasps found in Kentucky. They are commonly seen in late summer as they hunt for cicadas which they use to provision their eggs in underground burrows. Isn't it amazing how plants and animals have developed such specializations? Their life cycle revolves around one prey - the cicada.Our daughter's fiance earned a family reputation on his first hike in the woods with us. He is now the Deer Caller. Every time he wondered if there were deer, we saw more of them. The rangers came by all the picnic tables warning us about not feeding the animals. Surely not bears, we thought. We never expected to see any wildlife, but the deer at Mammoth Cave are not very afraid of people at all. We saw a buck just strolling down the trail, like a tourist without a camera. How do you describe the points on a mature male? This one has three points on each antler and still shows the soft velvet covering. Apparently even a yearling can support six points by the fall. Another male whose antlers were just beginning to grow wasn't quite so bold and hid among the trees. A little later, we ran across a doe and her twin fawns on a hillside. Finally, a single fawn grazed in the grass along the parking lot.