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Although it is getting cold with good potential for snow throughout the next few months, opportunities abound for winter activities and sights that can only be found this time of year. Aside from normal winter activities such as skiing and sledding, there is an abundance of opportunities to see wildlife and landscapes—some may be as close as just outside your kitchen window.
This region is known for its winter population of eagles flying down from Canada. We also have an abundance of other species of birds, including pine siskins and redpolls, which can only be seen in the winter. Many of these birds will come to feeders outside your window. If you want to contribute your sightings for science, the instructions for Project Feederwatch can be found at birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1964
A decent snow cover will make mammals easier to spot in the woods. Even if the animals are not in front of you, you’ll be able to spot an abundance of tracks made by such critters as deer, rabbit, squirrel, or, if you’re lucky, a bobcat. Check out Sandy Long’s November 14 River Talk column for more information on tracking, with some excellent references.
Although some animals may hibernate during winter, people do best by staying active. Long hikes are not usually required; many wildlife areas are a short ride away with many chances to see cold-weather critters. So get out there—or just take a few moments to glance out your window.