Winter Behavior of Living Slinkys and Sliders: Weasels, Otter, and Mink

Weasels, otter, and mink, oh my! The Mustelidae is a family that includes living slinkys and sliders: the long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata), ermine or short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea), least weasel (Mustela nivalis), mink (Mustela vison), and river otter (Lutra canadensis). These slender, long-bodied, short-legged mammals have a distinct bounding track pattern, which can be punctuated,

What the Wild Ones Left Behind in the Snow

The first Saturday in March has proven to be perfect tracking weather. The snow is firm enough so that lighter animals (i.e., non-humans) are not punching through too deeply, but just enough to leave clear prints. One can see the clear X in the four-digit print of the red fox and the five-digit prints of

Pretty Boys, Drummers, and Timberdoodles (or Ring-Necked Pheasants, Ruffed Grouse, and American Woodcock)

The Ring-necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus, is a handsome-looking chap. This member of the grouse family (Phasianidae) has iridescent copper-gold plumage with a long tail – brown with black markings. He is aptly named due to the white ring around his neck. He also sports teal-colored feathers on his head as well as a red sideways

Winter Wildlife Tracking = Happiness + Exploring

Sunday There was a crispness that you could walk right into – and I did. The cold air caught in my throat and I swallowed winter. The ice glistened in a sunny day that couldn’t quite touch the chill. As I walked my ears were met with the tales chickadees tell one another in the

Tracking Bobcats and Rabbits

Last summer I was noticing quite a few rabbits around our home. They seemed to be breeding, well, like bunnies. And they ate all our strawberries and then our Brussels sprouts! There has got to be checks and balances. Who would balance this equation? Meet Bobbi. Bobbi is a bobcat (Felis rufus) who moved in

Otters in Winter

How the Otter Half Lives (in Winter) The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), a member of the subfamily Lutrinae, in the weasel family (Mustelidae), is an equal opportunity player on both land and water. This mustelid LOVES to have a good time! And in winter you can find their slides along the forest floor,

Love is in the Air: February is Mating Season for many Wild Creatures

“Love is in the air, everywhere I look around. Love is in the air, in every sight and every sound. ~ Tom Jones Humans are not the only creatures who are pulled by sensations of love during the coldest time of year. Many a wild creature is waking up to the sensation of… “Wow! It’s