Merry Christmas: Winter Visitors

Our back yard serves as a wildlife thoroughfare, but only after a snowfall can we see who’s been afoot overnight.

Gray squirrels hop across the driveway:

Squirrel Tracks in Snow
Squirrel Tracks in Snow

When they’re not busy raiding the bird feeder, that is:

Not a Squirrel-Proof Feeder
Not a Squirrel-Proof Feeder

Red foxes leave widely spaced tracks:

Red Fox Tracks in Snow
Red Fox Tracks in Snow

Even quadrupeds have trouble maintaining their footing on an icy driveway:

Red Fox Skidmark in Snow
Red Fox Skidmark in Snow

Turkeys travel in flocks:

Turkey Tracks in Snow
Turkey Tracks in Snow

And sometimes monsters stride the Earth:

Mary Track in Snow
Mary Track in Snow

Seeing as how it wouldn’t be a suitable blog post without some numbers, here’s a 1 foot / 30 cm scale with fox and turkey tracks:

Turkey and Fox Tracks in Snow with Ruler
Turkey and Fox Tracks in Snow with Ruler

Those are scary-big birds!

Merry Christmas to all!

8 thoughts on “Merry Christmas: Winter Visitors

      1. Had a couple of woodpeckers set up housekeeping in our Juniper stump garden gatepost. The hole faced the gate a bit below eye level and once the chick got big enough to peek out, I’d notice him keeping an eye on me when I was going in and out. When he wasn’t peeking out, he was practicing his drumming/pecking. Cute bugger.

        Dunno if they’ll be back, but they’re welcome to that spot–rather have holes in my stumps than having them chew up the siding looking for leaf-cutter bee nests. (Hard to do with the house–cement board siding…)

        Thrum-a-tum-tum!

        1. having them chew up the siding

          When Downy Woodpeckers start drilling into the house, that’s my signal to load the suet feeder.

          A few houses ago, a Ventpecker found the kitchen exhaust to be a wonderful sounding board for his mating calls. He scared the daylights out of us the first few times: it sounded like God was pounding on the roof and he wanted in bad. Turned out to be a Yellow-shafted Flicker who wasn’t deterred by anything we did…

  1. When we bought our place, the shed’s T1-11 siding had already been attacked for the leaf-cutter bees. I noticed that the former owner left a lot of .45ACP shotshell casings (a special round with really tiny shot to be fired from a pistol) near that shed. I ended up re-sheathing the afflicted shed with an OSB-based siding. That reduced the problem, but woodpeckers will peck for the hell of it. The worst is when they start a hole, then stand in that hole to do another one a bird’s height above. One of the artifacts of mill-site is a 2 x 12 board fastened to a tree. A few years ago the peckers found it, and now it has a row of holes all the way up it.

    My plastic downspouts get drummed on occasionally. Haven’t tried the ballistic solution so far, but they found out I can make a louder drumming on the downspout than they can. The stump-dwellers were well behaved, so I didn’t bother them… When the little one started to fly, he tackled stumps about 6″ high. They were pretty well debugged by the time he grew up.

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