Hi! My name is Ms. Woodward. Please travel with me to Nova Scotia to study Climate Change and Mammals!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trapping at Cook's Lake

I'll try to answer some of the questions from comments that I received first. The eagle was just flying away, Lorlei, but it was pretty spectacular. Shrews will eat any insects that they can find, and one field sign that a shrew is in the area is insect parts left over. They like to eat the meaty bits as Christina puts it. The tadpole eggs that are exposed will probably not make it. Either they won't hatch, or the tadpoles will die because they don't have enough water. That a good example of how climate change can effect living things. Now, the difference between horns and antlers is that horns are made of hair tightly packed together. Antlers are bone. In fact, when deer shed their antlers they will sometimes turns around and nibble on them for the calcium and other nutrients. Other animals will also do that if they come across shed antlers in the forest. That's also why antlers can have more than one point. The older the animal the more the antler will branch each time it grows back. Since a horn is just tightly packed hair it grows out like our hair does, but it stays in one bunch. Now, why DO deer shed their antlers every fall? Today turned out to be pretty nice. It was windy but dry. Guess what pest likes drier weather? TICKS! Yuck! We are finding them all over us, and lucky me had two dug in. Anyway, out at Cook's Lake we only caught one meadow vole today, and we caught that one twice. That vole did have a big black mark on its back so we thought it had been clipped by another team. Christina thought that it had probably escaped a predator which either pulled or cut the guard hairs on the back of its neck. No shrews were trapped, so we were disappointed. Hopefully we'll trap some tomorrow! As we checked the shrew traps we closed them if they weren't already closed. We had one closed trap, but it was a false alarm. We also did several quadrats for deer and snowshoe hare droppings. Chris thought we would find a lot of evidence of deer and little evidence of snowshoe hare. videoIt turned out just the opposite. When we did the quadrats we only found a couple of deer droppings. When we did field sign transects later on we found more. We also found the remains of a deer which had probably been killed within the last couple of weeks by a coyote. We also saw bobcat scat, fox scat, porcupine scat, and of course deer, coyote, and snowshoe hare scat. So we know those animals are around. We'd just like to see them! We also saw raccoon tracks in the mud. This evening we had a talk about the different mammals that are found in Nova Scotia. As Chris listed each animal and talked about gestation periods (Do you remember what that is?) I marked them in my mammals of Wisconsin book. We have many of the same mammals! Tomorrow we hope to spend the evening beaver watching and bat detecting. It may still be too cold for some of those animals, but we're going to give it a try. Since we're doing much of the same things tomorrow that we did today, I'll back track a bit and talk about our trip to Halifax. I didn't forget...Happy birthday Ashley and Jake! I hope you both had a wonderful day!


At April 20, 2010 at 11:31 PM , Blogger Richard said...

The question on why bucks shed their antlers seems difficult. It's not a learned behavior. They simply fall off, with maybe some help from the buck who is tired of wearing them. It does seem advantageous to the buck to get rid of them each year. They don't have to carry that weight through the winter, which would probably use up a lot of extra energy. It they did keep their antlers over the winters I'd think they'd get dull over time. These dull antlers would not be as good as sharper antlers when it comes to weaponry. Of course, the does prove that they don't need those antlers at all. They get along fine without them. Then again, the rut is a pretty important time for members of the deer family. The bucks use their antlers to prove their supremacy over other bucks, which enables them to mate with the does. These strong bucks then pass on their good genes, keeping the herd strong. I'll look forward to reading your answer to why bucks shed their antlers every fall.
Good luck with the beaver watching and bat detecting!

At April 21, 2010 at 6:00 AM , Blogger gingerfiles said...

Wow, Mr. C! You are spot on with your answer. Both with why they shed the antlers and why they have them. Are you sure you should be retired? We need science teachers like you!


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