After the recent snowfall, I took my camera out for a walk to find evidence of wildlife around the Learning Campus. The first animal tracks I found were those of at least one coyote running across the snow.
The individual track was not a clear footprint, but it was the right general shape and size to be a coyote.
The tracks formed a few paths across the campus.
The tracks did not follow the paths that people walk, but tended to run closer to trees. This makes sense for an animal that is trying to stay hidden from other animals. I also found a spot where the coyote seemed to run up, do a little turnaround, and take off in another direction.
This isn’t the clearest picture, but you can still see that the coyote came from the wooded area toward the front of the picture, then it turned around and sank its front paws in the snow where you see two clear side-by-side holes in the snow. It turned and ran to the right of the picture frame. You can imagine a spirted puppy running excitedly as it plays in the new snow, and leaving tracks like these.
I was hoping to find evidence of animals interacting. The closest thing I found was this set of rabbit tracks.
Here the rabbit hopped to the corner of the building, stopped, and then turned around and went back the way it came. Did it possilby see or smell the coyotes that were running around and decide to go back to hiding?
On my walk I found squirrel, bird, and mouse tracks. And then I found these strange marks in the snow.
What could these strange lines be? “It’s elementary, Mr. Watson!” These “fingerprints” were left by elementary school students as they dragged their hands along the snow at the Learning Center this morning.
If you want to find animal tracks in the snow and figure out what stories they tell, here are some tips:
- Go out and look when the snow is fresh.
- Think about which animals you have actually seen around, and where you have seen them. Look there.
- Search around trees and shrubs, especially if there are places a small animal might crawl into for shelter.
- Be alert for sources of food; the snackers and nappers may be out looking for a meal, and they will leave their marks.
Good luck, and remember not to eat yellow snow.