Joe and his mom were out collecting leaves in the yard. They were going to use them to make leaf rubbings for fall decorations. After he was sure he had chosen leaves that would make the most beautiful rubbings, Joe gathered them all up and followed his mom inside.
As they were sorting their loot in the kitchen, Joe noticed one little leaf was crawling across the table, trying to escape. Taking a closer look, he discovered legs and tiny antennae.
Quietly, Joe went to get his bug house and field guide to observe and find out just what kind of creature would dress up as a leaf.
Diet: Foliage and flowers, stems, petals, fruits, etc.
Habitat: Trees, shrubs…basically anywhere with lots of plants.
Predators: Spiders, ants, frogs, birds*
Lifecycle: Eggs are laid in the fall and nymphs hatch in the spring.
Fun Fact: Katydids are mostly nocturnal as it is easier to hide at night. They are shy, antisocial pests that make music by rubbing their wings together.
*Baby katydids, or nymphs, are the perfect high protein food source for baby birds.
Joe sat back in his chair and looked at the Katydid sitting in the bug house. The field guide had been generous when it called the noise of the Katydid “music”. It was more like the sound of a record being scratched over and over again to the cha-cha rhythm.
He stared thoughtfully at the bug. He couldn’t ignore what else the field guide had said…Katydids made a feast of any green, lush foliage they encountered. And their eggs were the perfect first meal for baby birds!
Of course! If Katydids had come to the homestead, there was a good chance of attracting beneficial birds to the garden: Chickadees to eat the Katydids, Nighthawks to eat the squash bugs and Blue Birds to help the chickens with the grasshoppers!
Picking up the bug house, Joe headed to the bathroom. As he shut the door, he made a mental note to fill the bird feeders with sunflower seeds and suet.