Archive for April, 2015


I’ve been finding tons of flicker scats lately. Here is one. Its a good bet that a solid bird scat that looks like this (coated in white) is a flicker scat… but break it open and find nothing but ants and sand and its 100% identified.


We found a wolf frozen in this iceberg. No idea what happened to it. This was right off the road so maybe it got hit by a car.


Got to do some bird banding of the black rosy finches. I love the black and pink coloration on these birds.


Spring migration in the Tetons. Back to daily bison traffic jams. No complaints here though.


I believe these are meadowlark tracks. This is an area covered in meadowlarks and the size and blackbird shape are right. Some bird tracks are really hard to identify but I’m pretty sure that’s what these are..


Some nice vole tracks. Voles have equal length front and hind legs so they are able to trot like you see here. Trotting helps them cruise through their grass tunnels without bumping the ceiling and it is also a great help in track identification.


Some striped skunk tracks. Without the size reference you could mistake these for bear tracks!


Retired cougar-hound Thor shows that she still has her woods prowess.


If you have put in some practice but you want to step up your tracking skills, look for tricky tracks that don’t make sense at first. Try to pick out the toes, heel pads, and which feet are fronts vs hinds. Stick with it until you figure it out. Sometimes it may take a LONG time and then it makes sense. These are red squirrel tracks; identifiable by the track in the lower left – a front foot.


Cool otter tail drag, scent marking.


It might be hard to see but we found some bear hair stuck to this tree that a beaver took down. The paper would be titled “Relevance of Beaver Chewed Trees in Black Bear Grooming Habits.” It does make a perfect comb.


The hind foot of an Uinta ground squirrel.


Vole feeding sign on a choke cherry branch. I’ve heard that pocket gophers will eat inner bark through the winter so I wonder if this could be them. This looks like classic vole feeding though.

Ungulates of Wyoming Comparison labeled

I’ve been working on local ungulates. Sometimes it is really hard to tell them apart so I made this little collage as a fun exercise.


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I’ve been finding these Raven pellets full of plant debris lately… maybe they are eating over-wintering insect larvae in dead plant stems?


This is a mystery I’d love some help with. I believe this is either pocket gopher or vole sign… likely these holes were made under the snow while the critter was going to old caches of grass seeds. The digs are fairly substantial which makes me lean towards gopher… but there are no gopher eskers near by and I found some sized up and piled plant stems like voles make… Any help is appreciated!


Here is a close up of one of the digs. The vegetation around the hole is clipped so we know this isn’t bird sign.


Some nice coyote tracks.


The Uinta ground squirrels have emerged. These rodents hibernate for 9 months straight and only a third of the population ever wakes up. The rest are eaten by badgers, bears and other predators.


Close up of the front foot. This is classic foot shape for all ground squirrels.


Bighorn sheep foot from a cougar kill. Looks like some rodent chewed off the foot pads. I’d guess that it was a red squirrel.


I don’t find much snowshoe hare sign in Wyoming but here it is on a juniper. I don’t know what the hares are eating here. We don’t have very many to begin with.


Red fox foot. Its amazing that they leave any toe marks in their tracks at all.


Gray-crowned Rosy Finch scat. If you ever see a bird make tracks or scat please take a picture with a ruler and send it to me.


Here is a junco scat. One distinction in sparrow scat (juncos are sparrows) is that they are uniformly covered in a white coating of uric acid.


The elusive black rosy finch. Mixed in a flock of Gray-crowned Rosy Finches.


From back to front – Cassin’s finch, Black Rosy Finch and Gray-crowned Rosy Finch.


Gray-crowned Rosy Finch tracks.


Chickadee tracks.


Junco tracks.


Song Sparrow tracks. They are not supposed to run but I watched this one make these.


Zygodactyl female Hairy Woodpecker tracks.


Female Hairy Woodpecker track. Males are slightly larger.


Another set of the Hairy Woodpecker tracks. I watched all these birds make these tracks and scats. Please do the same and send me the pictures or post them on your own tracking blog :). There is a lack of data when it comes to “known” bird tracks and I’d love to see some folks working to fill the gap. Thanks for reading!

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