Drought affects plants and animals

Sunday, July 22, 2012

In times of excessive heat and drought like we are currently experiencing, many wild animals and plants come under exceptional stress. In this photo I've captured a male American goldfinch sitting on a drooping sunflower. The yellow petals of the flower have prematurely wilted because of lack of rain.

The seed head of this sunflower may actually produce no seed. Sunflower seed is a favored food of the American goldfinch. Of course the goldfinch also eats seeds from other wildflowers and some small insects. But the drought is having a negative effect on them, too.

While most songbirds nest and raise their offspring in springtime, the American goldfinch nests in late summer when there is normally an abundance of wildflower seed. This year may prove to be a difficult one for goldfinch reproduction if our drought continues for another month or so.

In this time when many of our wild animals are struggling, lets remember to provide them with food and water if we can.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the Painted Wren Gallery.

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