Watching Winter Wildlife
The air has grown crisp, the leaves now lie on the ground, and the animals are hidden away to keep warm… or are they?
While it may be cold outside, there is still much that can be observed even on the coldest of days. After snows, look for the tracks of deer, turkey, mice, rabbits, foxes, and other animals as the snow makes their trails more easily visible. Turning rocks over in unfrozen streams can yield salamanders, crayfish, and other aquatic animals. On warmer winter days, red-backed salamanders, spiders, and other small critters can
sometimes be found under logs and amongst the leaves as they take advantage of the unfrozen ground to gather some quick food before retreating back below the freeze line.
Perhaps the easiest way to observe wildlife over the winter is to hang a bird feeder outside. Chickadees, titmice, juncos, and nuthatches remain in the area and will gather around feeders for the free food. Feeders can also attract turkeys, squirrels, and the occasional bear as they seek out food sources.
The benefits of feeders are that you can observe these animals from the comfort and warmth of your house! Keep in mind that the bears in our area can remain active during the warmer winter days, so still take the proper precautions to make sure your feeders and appropriately bear-proof.
Please visit www.hicashlt.org or call (828) 526-1111 to learn more about the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust and the lands we protect.