As they followed the trail under a tree, they were able to find clearer prints with claw marks in them, which helped them provisionally identify the tracks as coyote. Claw marks are unlikely to show in bobcat tracks, and less likely to show prominently in prints from foxes’ furry feet than in coyote tracks.
Sometimes, getting under the trees can be the best way to find clear tracks. Check out these crystal clear squirrel tracks!
They made navigational adjustments to account for the creek, and didn’t cross it as planned, but still found themselves in good tracking territory. The most abundant species by far were Douglas Squirrel and Snowshoe Hare – the team tallied over 60 Douglas Squirrel trails! (Stand by while we check the Cascadia Wild record books to see how that stacks up…)
They also got a chance to do some bird tracking, despite not seeing any bird tracks in the snow. How? By looking at woodpecker holes in the trees! Four common woodpecker species we find eating the tree-dwelling insects of on Mt. Hood are
- the Pileated Woodpecker, who’s the largest of the bunch and creates holes 3” wide or larger as its excavates for bugs,
- the Hairy Woodpecker, a smaller who makes smaller, oval shaped holes,
- the Downy Woodpecker, which is even smaller who makes similar sized holes to their Hairy cousins, but exclusively in soft and rotting wood,
- and the Red-Breasted Sapsucker, who’s most distinguishing marks are little rows of shallow wells into the bark of trees.
Which woodpecker species made the holes in this snag that our group was checking out? Post in the comments!