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3 Tips for Exploring Winter Wildlife

The winter chill may tempt you to stay cozy indoors, but if you bundle up and head outside, you’ll uncover a whole new wildlife scene. For years, animals have found ways to adapt and thrive when temperatures drop, and if you practice your awesome observation skills, you might be able to see some of their survival secrets firsthand. Grab a thermos of hot cocoa, throw on your mittens and get ready to explore a new season in nature with the following three tips!


Research Your Local Wildlife

Before you step outdoors, get to know the winter animals and terrain of your area. This will increase your chances of seeing some fascinating creatures and keep you safe on your adventure. Be sure to also check the weather conditions and pack the proper gear – some areas can get very cold or slick in the winter.

Consider making a checklist of wildlife you hope to see that are active in the winter, like bison, bobcats, river otters, deer, red foxes or snowshoe hares. Remember, some animals that you have encountered at a different time of year could be dormant in the winter or might have migrated in search of food or more tolerable conditions.


Check for Clues

Your eyes and ears are the best tools for practicing your winter wildlife observation! They will help you find clues to what creatures might be nearby. Fresh fallen snow lets you spot animal tracks, or imprints that critters leave as they walk. The shape of their tracks will help you identify the type of animal that passed through and the direction in which they were heading. Other things to keep an eye out for are fallen fur or feathers, nests and burrow entrances. Even the animals themselves often stand out against the crisp white canvas of snow!

Don’t forget to lean on your listening, too. As you walk, try to filter out background noise to see if you can hear a bird singing, a small animal rustling or playful creatures splashing in a nearby water source. These noises will give you signals to find interesting animals hanging out around you.


Look to the Skies

Make sure you aren’t just keeping an eye out for our furry friends that roam the ground. Many bird species make the most of this snowy season as well – you might even spot some in your own backyard! Depending on where you live, you could see owls, sparrows, bald eagles, cardinals or other feathered wildlife going about their wintry day.

Food might be scarce for some of these birds in the colder months, so supplying feeders is a great way to support your local bird populations. This also will provide you with ample opportunity to bird-watch from the warmth of your home! To discover how various birdfeeders attract different types of birds, and to find ideas for practicing observation skills through birdwatching, check out this blog.

Keep Exploring

Be sure to visit our blog for more ways to explore the world around you, including strategies for building backyard habitats and experiencing nature at night!

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