Winter animal signs are all around when we stop and really observe. We may not see the abundance of active animals during the cold weather of late autumn and winter, but they are still around.
Some animals may be deep in burrows or pond mud hibernating. Other animals have died but left their shells.
What Animal Signs 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 may be 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
Recommended Field Guides
These feed guides have photographs of animal signs. The links are Amazon.com affiliate links. I receive a small amount which goes to the support of this website.
Autumn in the Natural World by Donna L. Long
Tracks and Signs of Insects and Other Invertebrates: A Guide to North American Species by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney (affiliate link to Amazon.com)
Bird Tracks & Sign : A Guide to North American Species by Mark Elbroch, Eleanor Marks, C. Delores Boretos.
Mammal Tracks & Sign: A Guide to North American Species by Mark Elbroch
Tracks & Sign of Reptiles & Amphibians: A Guide to North American Species by Filip A. Tkaczyk