Cascadia Wildlife Blog
News from the Wolverine Tracking Project and more
We have been enjoying quite the long, cool, wet spring this year! Even though this is wonderful for the environment, it has delayed the timing of putting the cameras out. Some lower elevations have still been receiving snow just recently. It may be a few more weeks before we can get out to all the expected summer camera locations. We are looking forward to when that happens, so we can start seeing which critters are out there!
What are we expecting to see once it warms and dries up a bit more? Just like people, many animals change their behaviors during the summer months. The abundance of new growth grasses, plants, and trees in the spring are taken full advantage of by all the herbivores great and small that depend on them. In turn, the predators are out in full force as well, hunting for their next meal. Move cover in the forests makes for great places to hide- on both sides.
From top to bottom: A Western gray squirrel exploring the undergrowth on a summer day. A yellow-bellied marmot has finally woken up from hibernation and gets some sunshine as they scramble across a rock field.
Finding shade and water to keep cool are critical for many animals on and around the mountain. Regulating body temperature varies by size and species. That thick pelt that kept you warm those long winter nights is now threatening to make you overheated! Some mammals shed prodigious amount of fur each year while others wait out the heat of the day sleeping. In the hot summer months, turkey vultures defecate on their own feet to help cool them off. The extremely high uric content also acts as a leg-sanitizer.
Top and bottom: This turkey vulture strikes a couple of poses for the camera. Rather than being over-heated at this point, they are spreading their wings in order to capture more of the marvelous sunshine.
For many animals, spring is a busy time for reproduction. Come summer they are busy raising these young and teaching them all they need to know about the great wide world they live in. Learning what to eat and what NOT to eat, exploring and marking territory, and vigilance against dangers are all necessary skills for survival. Coyotes spend a great deal of time passing all this knowledge on to their pups, just like many other carnivores.
From top to bottom: A coyote and her pup explore the bait left at this camera site. A lone pup seems to be doing some exploring on his own, although his mother is likely nearby out of camera range.
Black bears forage on a variety of food and will naturally change their eating habits depending on what is available. The bounty of berries, nuts, insects, and small mammals are just some of the goodies they will find. We see bears of all ages on our cameras but summer is when we see the youngest out with their mothers during their first season. Their incredible sense of smell and excellent memories will guide them around the forest to show their cubs where all the tastiest morsels can be found.
Top to bottom: A mother and her two cubs check out the bait at one site. At another one an adventurous young cub finds himself drawn to the bait. He then gets reaches up for a better smell.
As the days get longer, activity changes around the mountain. Some may start by basking in the sun but that may soon change to finding ways to stay cool. Some with larger ranges may change elevations while those with other migratory patterns are now returning for the season. Many animals are busy raising their youngsters and enjoying the bounty of bursting new resources in the forest. We look forward to all the incredible glimpses into their lives we see through this work!
A curious deer takes a peek at one of our cameras.
We are eagerly awaiting the Summer Camera Survey Crews, Fox and Wolf Survey members to gather data and report back to us! We look forward to sharing the exciting animal detections and findings from this upcoming summer season. Check back for more blog posts or join us on our other social media for news and updates!