Monday, February 13, 2012
|Photos by Jonathan Schechter|
Cattails are a signature species of marshlands in Michigan.
Every child and most adults with a love of nature know the cattail seed head turn brown in
autumn and persist into winter. On a hike a few days ago I noticed that some stalks at a nearby
marsh were torn apart from the middle. A bit of observation and detective work as light solved
the mystery. Mice tracks were near the base leading me to the conclusion that these
tiny rodents were scurrying up the stalks to gather bedding material. If I was a mouse I too would
love to sleep in a bed of warm dry fluff! And just as I made that conclusion a chickadee alighted on
a stalk and snatched a hunk of fluff as well. Perhaps the unseasonably warm weather of the past
few weeks made the chickadee think that cattail was her nest building supply store while the
mouse looked to the cattails as a bedding store. But for me,cattails remain one of my favorite
wild edibles and come next spring I will feast on this plant loved by man and beast.