A Late Winter Blast

A week of bitterly cold and snowy weather has reduced my outdoor activities and wildlife sightings. But, I still have enough images to get the attention of friends in warmer places, especially those who enjoy winter in the snow belt, vicariously!

The snow pack is several inches deep, with powder over a fragile base. Snowshoes aren’t really necessary, but they provide stable footing and easier travel on the crusty base, drifts and uneven terrain.

Red squirrels have mastered winter survival. When not foraging on a cache of spruce cones or at the bird feeders, they scurry in and out of cozy snow tunnels for shelter and predator avoidance.

Bad weather sends critters to backyard feeders, birds and mammals alike. Mourning doves flutter in and explode away often, consuming large amounts of grain during their brief visits.

March is the most challenging time of year for deer, especially when snow cover restricts mobility and buries food. Deer browse woody plants in winter, but it doesn’t take long for this staple to disappear as well. A five to six foot “browse line”, evident on this Northern White-cedar, indicates that deer have eaten just about everything within reach.

The big picture: a late winter landscape in Central New York.

Photos by NB Hunter, 2019. © All rights reserved.

A Deer in Early Winter

The hunters are gone but a new challenge awaits: Winter. Three months of cold, snow and dwindling food supplies. Waste grain is not yet buried in snow and a young doe seizes the opportunity to feed ahead of an approaching storm. Every bite counts now, even if it means abandoning the cover of darkness.

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Photos by NB Hunter (12/23/2017). © All Rights Reserved.