It snowed recently – just an inch or so – but it was the kind of snow that makes even the ordinary (or poorly-lit and muddy) look, briefly, extraordinary. It also tells stories of real drama and intrigue, of unseen passersby looking for a meal on a cold night.
The first tracks I saw looked like they belonged to a member of the canid family (fox, coyote, and dog are all possible out here) – something bold enough to venture near the house. As I looked closely, though, it became clear that there had been multiple visitors overnight.
In some places, the canid prints overlap with smaller, distinctively lagomorph prints. A fox following a rabbit’s trail?
Nearby, a different set of tracks showed where a deer had walked through.
By the tractors where juvenile chickens are living, another set of prints revealed something checking them out. Now wrapped in an overlay of plastic sheeting, these grow-out tractors are wrapped in 1″x1″ wire, covered by hardware cloth. A raccoon could reach through the rabbit wire, so the smaller wire is necessary to keep the chickens safe. No free chicken meals here.
In another area, little birds had hopped around atop food bowls, as if anticipating cleaning up scraps (like leftover scratch and BOSS tossed out as a snack). Where’s breakfast??
And the chickens? A little snow won’t stop them.
These tracks only last as long as the snow does, but it’s fascinating to see how many animals come through here, usually unbeknownst to us.