Monday, February 6, 2017

Trip report: Snow tracking

This post and photos are by Brian Waitkus

Tracks left by a weasel
On Saturday the 4th of February four people joined Dr. Gary Beauvais, Director of the University of Wyoming’s Natural Diversity Database, for what has long become an annual Laramie Audubon winter outing. We once again joined Gary to learn about identifying animal tracks left in the snow. The lessons learned over the years have been expanded to include other winter animal behavior and effects of forest session on various animal and plant species.

This year a light snow fall and wind combined to erase much of the evidence of animal movement. We were able to discover coyote/fox, pine squirrel, weasel, and moose tracks while also learning how domestic dog prints can easily be discerned from other canid tracks. The family dogs rarely practice the perfect step of their wild cousins. This occurs when the snow deepens and to conserve energy animals place their hind feet into the same location they stepped with their front feet.

Bird sightings in the deep forest was slightly better than most years with 3 stellar jays, 2 crows, 2 gray jays, and more than 20 mountain chickadees being observed.

Gary Beauvais discussing forest succession with the group

No comments:

Post a Comment