Winter animal signs are all around when we stop and really observe. Call this a winter scavenger hunt.
What to look for…
- Young trees with bark rubbed off in autumn by a buck deer polishing his antlers
- A large stick nest high in an oak tree, which maybe home to a great-horned owl or red-tailed hawk
- A large leafy nest that maybe belong to a squirrel
- Holes in dead trees that maybe home to cavity-nesting birds such as chickadees or woodpeckers
- Furry pellets or hairballs regurgitated by an owl
- Runaways through a field of grass made by small rodents
- Black walnuts cracked in half by fox or gray squirrels
- Pine cone eaten clean by squirrels
- Porcupine droppings (they are orange) at the base of a tree
- Hickory nuts nibbled on the edges by deer mice
- A mud nest under a house made by cliff or barn swallows
- Last year’s bird nests
- Scattered feathers or fur from a predator’s meal
- Tracks or droppings created by mammals and birds
- Hoof or paw prints in the mud or snow
- Burrows and dens in the side of a hill
- The persistent smell of skunk
List reprinted from Sargent, M.S and Carter, K.S., ed. 1999. Managing Michigan Wildlife: A Landowners Guide. Michigan United Conservation Clubs, East Lansing, MI. 297pp.
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