Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wildlife Party in the Back Yard!

For ten days before Christmas (before the warmer air arrived and left us with a green Christmas!), we had about 2" of snow on the ground.  With no fresh snow, the wildlife tracks just accumulated until it looked like the deer and the mice in particular were having a party!

Here was a group of deer right on our driveway.  Most of these appear to be the smaller prints of does or yearlings.


The deers' two hoofs are easily recognized, and the White-tailed Deer we have here also commonly drag their toes through the snow leaving tracks between their footprints.

Here's the large buck, a print fully 6" long, clearly showing the dew claws at the back of the footprint.

Here the Meadow Voles were obviously having a party too, this patch of tracks right in the garden.

Trying to get comparable pictures, I took out a tape measure and fixed it at 12" as a guide to size.  These tiny alternating tracks are probably also a Meadow Vole, as are the ones above.

We have plenty of Cottontail Rabbits around, probably the same ones that eat half the veggies in the garden! This track is coming toward us, with the two larger hind feet in front, altogether about 6" long.

In comparison, this is a Snowshoe Hare that crossed the yard, a similar track though going the opposite direction, and in total over 12" long.

In comparison the tiny Red Squirrel leaves a track only about 3" for all four feet, though in the same fashion as rabbits, its larger hind feet come first - heading away from us.

Finally, I suspect this set of single paw prints in not-quite-a-straight-line, is a fox, crossing the driveway and heading around behind the house.  We have on occasion seen one in the summer.  Altogether, quite a nocturnal party going on in our back yard!

Winter has returned here, and we'll have a white New Year's Eve at least, though the snow's not deep.  Far nicer for exploring the woods or walking the dog though than rain, mud and a few degrees above freezing!

 Linking to:

16 comments:

  1. Those tracks are all very familiar to me. I was quite used to seeing a multitude of different tracks in the snow at my parents' place, including from whitetails.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That was quite a party in your yard! Interesting to see all the tracks but would be fun to catch some of the action in the night too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good job of identifying the tracks....I'm impressed!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It sounds like a game camera would be busy if it was set up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your backyard is a regular "Wild Kingdom!"

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a wonderful chance to get so many footprints - did you get any photos of the animals during their party time?

    ReplyDelete
  7. When there's snow on the ground, it allows me to see what our dogs can always smell. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Party time indeed. So many footprints. You will have to set your video camera up and catch them in the act. Happy new year

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy new year joy happiness, so soft snow and candida

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh lots of critter tracks there . Awesome . No snow here so I cant see how many critters have been lurking in our valley . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day and a Happy New Year !

    ReplyDelete
  11. Now that was really fun, seeing what all the critters playing left behind. The measuring tape is a great idea to give some perspective. Happy New Year! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. That was a fun post! Happy New Year to you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Cool post and on the various animal tracks.. Happy New Year to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Happy New Year! I love tracks and following them here. I was going to get a guide but you have given me some good information and photos to follow. One year I found a owl wing print in a vole trail. A snow angel by an owl. I was excited. I missed your link for my Nature Notes link list and I am so sorry. I thought I had linked and visited all the blogs I had, but I wasn't feeling well so my memory was not my friend. I fixed it just now...Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love the tracks. One winter the conditions were so good for that and I did lots of posts about them. Haven't had such a good year since! I don't think we have hares here, although someone told me we did. I have to check on that. We have rabbits, of course.

    ReplyDelete