What Happens in Autumn?
On the calendar, autumn is the third season of the year. Autumn is a time of change. The green color of summer gives way to the yellow, red, and browns of autumn. Fruits and nuts are harvested, the days become shorter, and animals prepare for winter.
What happens to the trees in autumn?
A substance called chlorophyll makes leaves green. In autumn the tree stops making chlorophyll so the green in the leaves fade. The colors, which were hidden by the green, can now be seen. During the late fall, most of the leaves of deciduous trees fall off. This is nature’s way of protecting the tree during the winter months. In the winter, trees get very little water through the roots. If the leaves remained, water would escape as water vapor through the tiny pores in the leaves. This way the tree can conserve water and stay alive. Pine trees do not lose their needles. This is because needles are narrow and covered with wax, so less water escapes from them.
Why do the days get shorter during autumn?
Our planet travels around the sun in a huge circle called an orbit. It takes one year for the Earth to complete one orbit. Because of this, each day has a period when it is light and a period when it is dark. When the Earth faces the sun, it is daylight and when it is turned away from the sun, it is night. For most of the year, day and night are different lengths. However, each autumn there is a day with twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness. This happens on September 22 or 23 in the Northern Hemisphere. It is called the autumn equinox. After that date the nights gradually become longer than the days.
What happens to animals and birds during autumn?
During autumn there is a lot of food available as seeds and fruits ripen. Animals store up as much food as they can before winter comes. Squirrels collect nuts, mice collect seeds, and jays collect acorns. Animals eat as much as they can in autumn to store up fat reserves in their body before winter.
Insects are very active in summer, but they become sluggish during the cooler fall months. Some of the strong fliers, such as butterflies and dragonflies will migrate to warmer climates. Most insects cannot or do not fly to warmer climates. They must find ways of surviving winter where they are. Ladybugs hide in cracks of trees; butterflies will find a woodshed or attic to hide in. Crickets and grasshoppers die before winter comes, but they have already laid their eggs, which will grow into new insects in the spring.
Birds are stronger flyers than insects and many of them flee the oncoming winter. It is the scarcity of food and not the cold that affects them most. Insect eating birds must leave their homes in autumn because their food disappears.
Many changes occur during autumn. It is a favorite season for many people because of the beautiful colors and pleasant weather. What is your favorite season?