Kids Corner: Winter Tracking Fun

The dead of winter, it may seem like a boring and dreary time to adventure outside. It’s cold and grey and damp. The trees are bare, there are no bugs to find, even the birds seem to agree that it’s a rotten time to be out as they sit on branches, shoulders pulled up to their ears and wings tight to their body to keep warm. Sometimes it feels like spring is so far off and summer even farther. But then comes the snow! Snow seems to make the cold more bearable, turning our boring winter world into a playground.

There is sledding and building snowmen and women. Fort building and snowball fights. But what if you are alone? Perhaps you are tired of building or you don’t have a sled. Maybe you are ready for a new adventure!

One of my favorite things to do in the snow as a kid was tracking. I loved finding tracks in the snow and seeing where they were going. I would wander for hours following the tracks of neighborhood cats through backyards and side yards. Under decks and over porches and sometimes in circles around trees. It was fun seeing where they’d go. Living in town, I never had anything more than cats to follow, but one of the cool things about living in Bucks County is that there is so much wildlife in most of our yards. You don’t have to go too far to find tracks left by a variety of native animals. Recently one
morning after a snowfall here at the visitor’s center, I found all kinds of tracks. There were many bird tracks as well as fox, mouse, raccoon, squirrel, and of course there were deer.

Tracking can be a fun activity. Not only do you get to see just how active an area can be with local animals, but you can sometimes see what they were up to as well. You can see if they were foraging for food or if they stopped to lay down and rest. You can see if they were playing or running or just slowly wandering around. You may even follow an animal to its home! Sometimes while tracking you’ll find that the animal you were tracking was actually tracking something too! Maybe those fox tracks you were following started following the rabbit tracks that crossed the path?

What can you find when you go out? There are numerous guides that can be bought or downloaded online. There even quality tracking apps for smartphones! Get outside the next time it snows and have a look around, you never know what or who you’ll find! You can even come out and do some tracking here at Honey Hollow, our trails are open daily even if there is snow! I’d love to hear what you find, send us a story or a picture of the tracks that you find.

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