Checking the Traps
Today I slept in! Although it is very fun, the work we are doing is still a lot of work and I'm getting tired! So, we set off to check our traps and Christina showed us how to take them apart inside of a bag, so that we keep the animal safe. Today we caught 5 different animals and two of them came back a second time! So how many total catches did we have? My transect partner and I thought we had a catch, but when we got back to check it was empty. :( Sometimes they can be jostled so the door closes. The lines that caught the most were in the center of the hectare. My traps are on the outer edge. Even if the animals are not caught in your trap, you are given the opportunity to scruff it as it is clipped. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm the only one who hasn't done this. My goal is to do it before the end of the trip. If my trap gets one tomorrow, I'm determined to do it! All of the animals we caught today were red backed voles. There were four males and one female. After we determine if they are male or female, we look to see if they are juvenile or adult. We record where and when they were trapped, their weight and if there was any unusual weather the night before. Our animals are being clip marked on their left hip. To clip mark the animal, a small bit is clipped off of the tip of the guard hairs. That leaves the insulating black fur showing. A couple of the voles that we caught today had markings from last year. That means it hasn't molted yet. The rest of the day was spent looking for and recording porcupine damage, and then we did a mile long field sign transect. We were looking for any signs of wildlife. We saw several types of scat, bones, and even some evidence of beavers.
Tomorrow it may snow! However, we still have to check the traps so no animals are in danger. We'll do that twice tomorrow. We are also scheduled to view the beavers. If the water is too wavy because of the weather, they won't be very active.
You asked some great questions about my last post. We use bird seed in the traps. The apple is for moisture. Remember we learned that most small animals get the moisture they need from the food they eat. Setting the traps is hard because there are huge boulders that we have to climb over and very dense undergrowth that we have to travel through to get to the traps. So it is really just tiring. We don't really see tracks by the traps because the mammals are so small and there is a lot of leaf litter on the ground. We are hoping to catch voles, mice, and flying squirrels. Thanks for the great questions! I hope you are preparing some good ones for Friday!