Nature Notes – Autumn 2021

Autumn Is Upon Us

by Jill K. McDonald
Autumn Leaves, stock photo

As September rolls along, so too shall autumn soon arrive. On Wednesday, September 22 at 3:20pm EDT (7:20 UTC) the season of autumn 2021 will officially begin in the northern hemisphere. It is on the equinoxes, both that of spring and fall, when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are approximately equal length everywhere on earth.

My two most noteworthy recent seasonal observations have been just outside my windows. They are as follows:

During the daytime, I anxiously await seeing hummingbirds out my kitchen window. The first week of September was typical at my feeder with a few males and females taking turns. However, by the second week I realized I wasn’t seeing any males. This pattern has continued. So I’ve succumbed to the realization that it is indeed that time of year when the male hummingbirds have likely begun their migration to Central America. Just like in the spring, the males migrate ahead of the females to set up their territory. 

In the evening, after dark, I’ve begun to notice the katydid calls have been diminishing on cooler nights. I’m definitely most grateful for their beautiful tunes on recent humid nights. Although their calls will slowly fizzle out as the weather cools, we’ll be able to enjoy them for at least a bit longer.

So perhaps step outside in the early night or crack open your window, even just a little bit, and enjoy the songs of crickets and katydids. Let the evening insects lull you to sleep. 

Help the hummingbirds as they prepare for their long migration. Ideally, keep fresh sugar water in your feeders Tax Day to Halloween (1 part sugar to 4 parts water). Not only will this help your current hummers, but ones further north too, as they journey through our area heading south.

As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant is change.” That statement seems ever so true when it comes to changes among the seasons, especially here in the Midwest. May you enjoy all the simple delights of the season!

Jill K. McDonald is a freelance nature & travel educator, writer, photographer, and speaker. She can be reached by email at or connect with her on Facebook at:

%d bloggers like this: