Autumn, also known as fall, is a favorite time of year for many people. In North America, there are dozens of signs that the Autumn season is approaching.
Many of the signs of Autumn are first seen by farmers, fishermen, hunters, hikers, and others that spend much of their time outdoors.
Plants provide some of the first signs that Autumn will soon be here. In August, a few scattered trees begin dropping leaves. Others may show touches of red, gold, or other hues. These early displays of color will soon by followed by an abundance of fall foliage.
Wildflowers usually provide clues about seasons. As Autumn approaches, some of North America's most familiar wildflowers begin blooming.
Agricultural crops also indicate North America's seasons. As the days grow shorter, crops such as corn and beans start to change color.
Birds often provide clues about the change of season. In many parts of North America, flocks of blackbirds appear in the sky overhead.
At first, the lines of birds are scattered and last only a few moments. Before long, the migration becomes an incredible sight, with noisy flocks occupying the sky from horizon to horizon.
Geese also announce the coming of Autumn. Resident geese become restless and begin taking short flights around sunset, honking loudly as they circle their summer territory.
Signs of Autumn can also be seen in the skies. As the air becomes drier, bluebird skies become common. At dawn, they may contain unique cloud formations known as mare's tails.
Periods of fair weather are sometimes broken by storms. Along the Atlantic Coast, the approach of Autumn is usually accompanied by powerful storms known as noreasters. Even more powerful are late-summer hurricanes, which lash coastal communities.
In much of North America, the summer season may end abruptly, not by a date marked on a calendar, but by the passing of a noreaster, hurricane, or other storm.