Animal Tracks and Signs- Berwick YNC Post from January 24th

Rabbit pellets

Rabbit pellets

The Berwick YNC headed out into the woods to look for animal tracks and signs on January 24th 2015. Just before we set out on our walk we reviewed the types of tracks we might see… dog like, cat like, bird like and deer like. Wild dogs like coyote and fox rarely stay on trails and even the though the actual tracks look alike you can tell the difference between domestic dogs and coyotes by the track pattern and location. Dog tracks wander around aimlessly sniffing everywhere and with no apparent goal and Coyote and Fox will usually cross trails rather than follow them. Coyote and Fox need to save energy so they usually walk in straight lines and in deep snow they will place their paws all in the same tracks so the tracks look like a straight line. This method of walking is called direct register. The YNC group then got warmed up and in the mood by pretending we were deer and hares and bounded over hay bales! The weather was mild and the trail was a bit icy when we started out. This event was held just before all of the snow which made it good for walking. However, the lack of snow made it difficult to find tracks.  We did see fox tracks which we tried to follow into the woods. We looked at the patches of snow to follow the trail but soon lost sign of the fox. We saw raccoon tracks going across the path. Apparently, Mr. Raccoon was taking advantage of the good weather to find some food. We saw lots of lovely little bunny pellets too (see above photo)! We learned that when snowshoe hare bound their front feet come down first and the back ones shoot forward and land in front of them so when hare tracks look like they are heading in one direction the hare was really heading in the opposite direction. We also saw lots of signs of vole tunnels in the snow and grass. We took plaster casts of some dog prints we found so that everyone could take home a plaster cast. Check out the photo section of this website for more photos of our event. Happy Trails Everyone!