Brilliant white snowflakes lie at rest from their fall smoothly on the lawn, the shrubs, the driveway, the street. Our complex world view had changed into a vision of pure simplicity. At least that is what I expected to see after a slow but steady drive home. My arrival awoke me from my apparition of a wintry Eden at my much-loved home. Living adjacent to a forest preserve means snowfall is soon more disturbed than a backyard host to snowsuit clad children.
Short research is sufficient to reveal which tracks belong to whom. The Grey Squirrel tracks look like “w”s with sets of prints. The hind paws are actually the front set of prints in this image; the smaller front paws appear in the back of this print (they are a pair but very close together). Squirrels are hoppers so this pattern is typical.
Not too surprising the most delicate prints in my yard were the Sparrow’s tracks. On the ground this bird hops, so the prints are in pairs. Notice the three toes on each foot. I sense a possible story from their movement.
Deer tracks make public the sex of the White Tail that left the prints. The span between strides and the depth of the print in the snow reveal the relative size of the deer. Larger deer produce deep-set prints with a large amount of space between prints. Such prints would represent a buck’s visit. Males range from 50-100 pounds heavier than females along with larger body frames including longer legs. Some of the deer track are older this is event too from their weathered lack of detail. Perhaps they were made when they thought no one was watching.