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Tracks and Signs

Tracks and Signs

 Winter is a beautiful time of year to visit Asbury Woods.  While you hike, ski or snowshoe along the trails keep an eye out for native wildlife or signs of wildlife.  Winter may not seem like a great time for wildlife watching, but a fresh coat of snow can give away a lot of clues about the animals that are active during the winter months at Asbury Woods.  As you explore you can keep an eye out for the clues that animals leave behind that tell us what they have been doing when no one was watching.

As animals explore above and below the snow they leave behind tracks and other signs like chewed food, rubbings, nests and even scat.  We can learn a lot about what each animal was up to by investigating these fun clues.  Tracks can tell us not only what species of animals have passed through, but also what direction they were headed and how fast they were moving.  Common tracks you may see in the snow at Asbury Woods include deer, squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, and domesticated dog.  Pay attention to which way the tracks are facing.  Are they leading up to a tree the animal climbed or maybe over a large log that only a big animal could jump?  Are the tracks close together like the animal was relaxed and walking or far apart because the animal was running fast?  It’s not uncommon to see multiple sets of tracks in one area and imagine how those animals might have been interacting.  It can be handy to bring along an animal tracks guide or purchase one in the Squeaky Frog Gift Shop.

You may also notice other signs of wildlife as you explore.  Look up and see if you can spot any nests.  Squirrel nests are large balls of leaves nestled safely onto a branch and they can be seen in many treetops along the trails.  You may also notice cavities in trees that are occupied with wildlife sleeping during the day.  Trees may have rubbings on the bark from deer and at the base of many trees, you may find remnants of seeds or nuts that have been eaten by animals. 

The best places to look for tracks and signs of animals are near areas of open water that animals may be visiting to drink, near natural food sources, or near bird feeders placed around the grounds. With almost 5 miles of trails to explore at Asbury Woods, you are sure to see wildlife or signs of wildlife all winter long.