Monday, March 12, 2012

Secret Paths Revealed

Wild turkey and squirrel prints in Gobble, Gobble. Published by Dawn Publications, 2011.

robin tracks
I love going out into the woods in winter to look for animal tracks. In wet snow, the solid tracks of deer leave their two-toed trails all through the woods. After a light snow, it's easy to spot even the delicate prints of birds and mice.
If conditions are right, you can find "reverse prints"-- tracks formed when the animal's footprints compacted the snow. When the snow begins to melt away, these areas, because they've been compressed, melt more slowly. The tracks become raised areas like these deer prints:
Voles tunnel under the snow. When the top layer melts, their secret trails, looking like a maze of highways, are revealed: