How To See Wildlife
A Bald Eagle diving into the creek feet first to bring up a fish. A Great Horned Owl perched serenely in a Maple tree dozing in the morning. A dark brown Mink industriously slipping between the roots of a Sycamore tree in search of prey. These are just some of the great scenes that visitors have been able to witness in our parks while hiking, biking and paddling our nearly 4,000 acres. Even though our forests are bursting with wildlife, we don’t often get to witness it. So how do you get to see wildlife?
- Go out often! There is no way around it; sometimes it’s just about luck. The more you go out, the more chances you will have to see wildlife.
- Go in the early morning. Many of our animals just aren’t active midday. Early in the morning you will get a chance to see nocturnal animals that are late to bed, diurnal animals that are early risers and crepuscular animals as well. I know this one is tough, but make a commitment to yourself and give yourself the gift of a dawn hike every once in a while.
- Be open to anything. Look and listen in all directions. If you decide that on today’s hike you are going to see a box turtle then you will spend the whole hike looking at the ground and miss the Red Tailed hawk hunting above you.
- Be small. Make your presence as small as possible. Be quiet. Move slow and easy. Wear neutral colors. Don’t wear scents.
- Keep your distance. Despite your best efforts, many animals will know you’re coming and will hide. They are just doing what keeps them safe. Pick a good spot and sit there with a nice set of binoculars. Not only will wildlife begin to wander into your line of sight but the more time you spend in one spot, you may start to notice animals that were there all along and are camouflage wizards.
- Start to appreciate the little wildlife. The more you go out the more you start to appreciate the common and the tiny. Truly you will never be disappointed about seeing wildlife if you count all of the thousands of insects, arachnids, slugs, and worms.