While it may seem that winter is a quiet time in the Seton Corridor as may species hunker down and hibernate during the cold winter months, to the careful observer, the landscape is full of activity. The carpet of snow covering our landscape provides a unique opportunity to peer into the daily trials, tribulations, and adventures of wildlife in the winter.
Species such as deer and birds continue to meander in and around our spawning channels as they look for food and water during the winter months. As wildlife interacts with their landscape, they leave behind signs that they were there. Signs can include snags of hair on a fence or tree branch, animal feces or scat, scratch or chew marks on tree trunks, or feathers.
However, in the snow (or mud) we can see perhaps the most noticeable signs of wildlife – their tracks.
To the creative observer, tracks and other signs that wildlife leave behind can be read almost like a story. In many cases, this story is short and sweet, merely telling us that a species has passed by. For example, these bird tracks found outside Splitrock are perhaps a crow looking for a snack, or maybe a raven on its way home.
But sometimes, if you are lucky, the signs left behind by wildlife can provide a momentary peak into something more exciting.
Here there was a struggle – you can see the light impressions of wings beating against the snow as well as a flurry of feathers that have been left behind. Perhaps this is the signs of a Chukar that was taken by a larger bird of prey, or maybe a mouse that was found hibernating under the snow.
By following animal tracks, we can learn a great deal about the wildlife that live in this area. Before the snow all melts, find a chance to take a walk outside and do some detective work on what story the tracks near your home are telling you.