Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally
ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer -
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff
Friday 02/21/2014 Locked in by winter's grip.
Wow what a week of snow. I've been snow blowing or scraping my driveway almost daily this past week. And Tuesday's, first 2 to 4 inches predicted, amended to 4 to 7, had me snow blowing 14 inches by my measurement from my drive that evening. Yes we are locked into winter. Then another four more inches in a quick hitting storm mid day yesterday. Enough for another go round with my snow blower last evening.
Enough already. I'm sure that is on the minds of most critters. My cat has sense enough to mostly gaze out the window at it now. That has me thinking about the poor bobcats no doubt floundering in this deep fluffy snow. Fact is many will not survive in these snow conditions. This was the type of snow when I used to get calls when I was at Fish and Game about bobcats hiding in barns and garages just to escape the deep snow.
I remember one farmer in Henniker asking to have the bobcat removed. He said it was eating his cats. So I went over one near zero morning to evict the poor cat. I found the big tom perched on a beam in the barn. So I went out an got my jab pole, about six feet long, and loaded the tranquilizer in it and went back into the barn. He was still within reach so I jabbed him with the huge needle on the pole. He shot off like a rocket but when I checked my syringe I found the drug had frozen and not ejected into the cat. So now I had a really ticked off cat on my hands. Well I headed up into the hay mound where he had headed to see what I could do to catch him. The only thing I found was a pile of kitty litter. In this cat it was four or five cat heads. He had dined on the rest. And he was no where to be found. So I guess I did solve the farmers problem, except for his missing cats.
Any ways this deep snow is bound to take it's toll on lots of wildlife. Deer are no doubt yarded up under some thick hemlocks waiting for better conditions. They can cruise on stored fat a few weeks. Not so bobcats, fisher, foxes and coyotes. Their numbers, especially those born last spring are sure to perish in numbers.
Though we do have some warm temps and maybe rain in our near future. This could be the key to their survival. While a couple days of warm temps won't get rid of much snow, any deep freeze that follows will crust up the snow and get the animals mobile again. Not that it will make it any easier to find food now buried under an icy crust of snow.
Like my cat I find myself gazing out the windows but for me my mind is wondering and to a degree worrying about those animals on the other side of my window. How do they cope? How many will die? Will spring come in time to rescue many of them? Yes my mind does the wondering across snowy fields and woods to places I have been and thoughts of animals I have known. I worry about wildlife in winter.
2014-02-04 The calm before the storms and plenty of fish to catch.
2014-03-14 On the road much of the last three weeks south of here with winter looking to hold us in his grip a while longer.
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