Permaculture observations; animals talk with their behaviour.

Animal confusion: spring behaviour in autumn…

Animal confusion: spring behaviour in autumn…

We have observed and heard of some strange animal behaviour this autumn. March to May is autumn in Australia, however we have observed some species behaving as if it were spring… 

The first we heard was from a bee keeping friend who had observed the bees swarming around a month ago. He mentioned this was very uncommon behaviour, since bees usually swarm in spring. He had never seen bees swarm in any other time of the year, and he and his family have kept bees for a long time.

Permaculture observations; animals talk with their behaviour.
Our broody goose…

Around a week ago, one of our geese started to make a nest. Geese always nest in spring only (September usually). She has been sitting on the nest for the last week, not getting up for food or anything, totally convinced she needs to be nesting now.

When I mentioned about our goose nesting at the local animal supply store, they mentioned they had overheard people talking about the unusual caterpillar activity for this time of year. I looked it up and normally caterpillars hatch and you see most of them in spring. We do have unusual caterpillar activity in our garden at the moment as well, and seedlings are being munched on excessively by them. I do not think we have had that happen in autumns past, autumn is usually a tremendous growing period for us!

A fat caterpillar, confused about autumn?
A big fat caterpillar, he and his smaller mates are eating fervently at the moment.

I have tried to look up other incidences, but to no avail. It would be great if people comment here to let me know whether they have had any such experiences as well, or possibly if there is any autumn animal behaviour in the Northern Hemisphere. The animals are possibly telling us something here, and I feel it is important for us to know what. We can only speculate what the consequences are to our own extreme consumerist behaviour, but maybe the animals can give us an indication of what to expect…

©2013 Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast – Permaculture is observing nature around you. What is going on when animals behave like it is spring when it is autumn?


  1. Definitely more caterpillars around in my garden (Brisbane). My chickens are moulting more severely than they ever have before: it seems rather strange that they have large bare batches of skin just as the weather is turning cold.

  2. Howdy, I asked our neighbour in Brisbane whether she thought it was a strange time of the year for the birth of her ducklings 12 weeks ago and she said definitely. Very strange.

  3. I’ve recently (In Wurtulla, Qld) noticed a Pee Wee collecting nesting materials in our yard – interesting stuff, huh.

  4. Mosquitoes are still eating us alive. Cane toads seem to be multiplying prolifically. And we still have snake activity in our garden. Caterpillars have eaten everything.

  5. Yes, our usually abundant garden at this time of year is suffering quite a bit from the heavy downpours we had in January through March, and now the incredible activity of caterpillars and grasshoppers, which normally have died down this time of year… The goose has in the mean time decided it has gotten too cold for her to keep sitting, but the insect activity is definitely greater than normal I think!

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