I saw a beautiful, bright female Scarlet Tanager yesterday, along with an unidentified warbler. Sibley’s range map shows us just north of the Tanager’s year-round range, but in my experience, this bird is probably a migrant. We usually have a pair in the spring, but we don’t see them all winter. We’ve also seen some geese trading back and forth from the old quarry on Cutcane Road. That can happen during the winter, but activity seems to have picked up a bit in the last week.
The Georgia Outdoor News, which is pretty much the voice of the Georgia sporting community, publishes a rut map every deer season. The purpose is to predict the peak of the rut in various locations across Georgia. According to the DNR’s people, it’s pretty accurate. In general, the further north, the later the rut, which makes sense. For instance, the southern part of Fannin County is listed as peaking November 20. The northern portion of Fannin doesn’t list a peak date, but shows a range of early to mid-December. For contrast, the coastal counties are predicted to peak on October 14th.
There’s one big anomaly on the map. Parts of Early, Miller, Decatur, and Seminole counties, in the extreme southwest corner of the state, show the same dates as the northern portion of Fannin County. And the southern portions of Seminole and Decatur are listed as peaking on January 3.
There’s a lot of genetic diversity in Georgia’s deer population, due to the various restocking programs over the years, but the explanation appears to be environmental. This area was in the Chattahoochee River’s flood plain before the river was dammed, and biologists think the late mating date was to ensure that the fawns were born after the spring flood waters receded.