Feb 16 2015
Don’t feel trapped indoors on this cold bank holiday. There’s snow outside and there are animal tracks in it! Identify the tracks and you can read their story.
You don’t have to stand out in the snow to identify them. Bundle up and take a camera or cellphone and a ruler. (The ruler is important! In your photos it will show you the size of the paw print and the distance between prints.)
Run out to the feeder, set the ruler near some tracks and take a bunch of pictures. Then come inside and identify the tracks at your leisure. Here are some tracking guides to help:
- Super easy! A kid-oriented step-by-step guide from University of Michigan that’s great fun for anyone on a snowy day. Begin here and click as you answer the questions. It guides you to the animal’s identity.
- Two printable handouts: Handout with notes from Univ of Colorado and Handout from Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries.
- Articles on animal tracking from Wilderness College.
- A detailed online course: Guide to Animal Tracking by Rick Curtis at Princeton University’s Outdoor Action program.
Using Dorcas Miller’s Track Finder booklet, I identified the squirrel tracks beneath my bird feeder. It helps that I saw the squirrels make them. 😉
(photo of deer mouse tracks(across the middle) and squirrel tracks (in the back left corner) from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original by Jomegat.)