“The alert field naturalist learns to look for signs of mammals, even where there is little likelihood of seeing the animals themselves. He becomes an expert at interpreting tracks in mud, dust, or snow; at analyzing scats; at recognizing claw marks, gnaw marks, nests, houses, mounds, ridges, food piles, and other telltale indicators.”
Complete Field Guide to American Wildlife by Henry Hill Collins
Outdoor Hour Challenge:
For this nature study challenge we will be looking for signs of mammals. You can look for mammal tracks, holes, scratches on tree trunks, scat, hollows in the trunk of a tree, burrow, holes in the lawn.Record your findings in your nature journal along with a drawing, the date, the weather, the time of day, and the type of animal if you have identified it at this time.
We always enjoy following tracks to see where they will lead…this is especially fun in the snow! Make a mental note to try this activity the next time you have snow in your area.
I am highly recommending this book from Amazon.com:Tracks, Scats and Signs.
I know many of you own it already and now would be the perfect time to pull it off the shelf. It is also contained in this book if you own this one instead: Fun With Nature: Take Along Guide.
Printable Notebook Page
Mammal Letter Notebook Page:After your Outdoor Hour time, write a letter to a friend or relative and tell them about your experiences. You can share anything you observed including any mammals or signs of mammals that you found. Include a sketch of your mammal, the tracks you saw, or tell a story about a mammal. If you saw some tracks, explain how you think the tracks got there. Was the animal looking for food? Finding a place to hide? You can make a copy of your letter and put it in your nature journal.
Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, use the suggestions in Outdoor Hour Challenge #1 for your Outdoor Hour time. Although we are looking for signs of mammals this week, make sure to follow up any interest that comes from your time outdoors. You can use the notebook page provided in the ebook to record your experience or you can use the suggestion above to write a letter to a friend or relative about your experience. Above all, enjoy a few minutes outside in your own backyard or neighborhood.