I spent a few hours yesterday looking for tracks. Although, I did find Bobcat tracks (a first for me), I spent a good deal of time looking for other animal signs. You may not see a lot of tracks or animals around this time of year but they do leave signs of their presence if you pay attention. The photo above really looks like nothing more than some debris covering the snow and in all actuallity that’s what it is, but what does it tell you?
What it’s telling me is that this tree is one of the favorite perches for a Red Squirrel. The sheer amount of scales located at the base means he frequents this tree on a regular basis to fill up on cones. It’s not just the tree itself he frequents it is one specific branch on that tree. We can tell that by the cone debris being localized to one spot at the base. You would think that the cones are from the same tree but actually they aren’t , this particular tree where he favors to have his meals is a Hemlock and the cones he has been enjoying are from a White Pine. Red Squirrels start in the late summer storing food in large caches for their winter supply of food. So why is he carrying cones from his cache to another tree? He does that because that one tree is a perfect vantage point for observing any danger while he’s feeding and he eats a lot. One Red Squirrel can consume the seeds of up to 40 cones or more per day! So there ya go, there are a lot more animal signs to discover other than just tracks and scat. Keep an eye out next time your cruising the woods for the more subtle signs of what animal are around.
Happy Hiking! www.mynaturesite.com