Well, to answer that question, let’s see what our favorite volunteers were up to on the mountain this week. A team led by expert trackers (and excellent photographers) Garth and Heather parked at Little John Sno-Park, at about 3,300 feet on the East side of Mt. Hood, high in the Hood River Valley. They hiked a snowy road bed through fresh snow, and enjoyed easier tracking conditions than our teams who went out last weekend in actively accumulating powder.
Just about immediately, they found a bobcat trail, which wove back and forth across the road for quite a ways as they kept going.
Bobcats are most active at dawn and dusk, and those are great times to hunt for their favored winter prey, the snowshoe hare. Our team found hare tracks, as well, but the trail didn’t seem to have crossed paths with the cat’s at the same time.
This spot is about four miles from the Pocket Creek camera that caught a bobcat on camera just a few weeks ago – perhaps the same animal, perhaps a different one.
Though perhaps not as excited as the bobcat would have been, our trackers were definitely surprised and pleased to come upon a group of grouse when they rounded a corner. The grouse did what a smart prey species does when surprised: quickly fled the area, leaving behind their scat and wing prints for our volunteers to examine.
Of course, some animals just can’t handle the snow. We caught a glimpse of one big one in the latest batch of photos from one of our Twin Lakes wildlife cameras. This guy:
And is it any wonder our friend the snowshoe hare is staying? A mid-sized hare weighs around three pounds, and the lengths of its four furry feet combined add up to roughly the length of its 18” body. Here’s a snowshoe hare in action last February, unfazed by deep snow.
What are you wondering about the winter lives of your favorite wildlife? Post a comment and let us know!