Western Mass Winter Brings Tracking Opportunities
Some of Nature May Nest but Signs of Movement Remain to be Explored
During the cold months of winter, many of the creatures often seen during the rest of the year have migrated south, are tucked away in burrows for most of the winter, or have become even better at hiding so as not to be easily spotted against the snow. But their signs are still there and a lot of fun searching for! Looking for signs like tracks, scat, dens, and nests is a fun and educational way to learn about the habits of wildlife living near you.
To inspire families into winter tracking expeditions, Mass Audubon offers an online list of the nests to spot in Winter! The list includes information on the American Goldfinch, American Robin, Baltimore Oriole, and Chipping Sparrow, as well as Eastern Gray Squirrels, who build nests high up in trees as well. The nest list not only shares information on spotting and identifying different nests, but it also includes facts about the nest’s structure, specific reasons for why each nest is created the way that it is, and interesting facts.
Identifying nests together with your family can teach them a lot about the habits of each bird species, and can help them develop a greater awareness of the many animal signs present around them. Mass Audubon also has Winter Walk Bingo Cards families can download and print that would make for fun this winter while searching for nests and other signs of wildlife.
Maybe even take Kurt’s advise and after a week of constant below freezing weather, head to the wetlands and explore an area otherwise not readily accessible outside of winter. Read more in his post, “The Ripple: Winter Wetlands.”
Looking for organized activities to do together while searching for nests and other animal tracks? Be sure to subscribe to our free weekly eNewsletter for outdoor adventures and nature-based learning opportunities.