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The daily patterns and activities of wildlife become more apparent as the cold, calm winter months approach. Just like humans, wild animals have weather-related adjustments, patterns and preferences. Deepen your connection with nature and wildlife this winter by taking a moment to observe the flurry of activity right outside your window.

Who’s out there, and what are they doing?

  • Chipmunks spend part of the winter curled up in their burrows in a state of inactivity, but they also wake often to eat. Though their food stores limit the number of times they must trek outside for food, they still forage on warmer winter days.
  • Gray squirrels make watertight winter nests, using up to 26 layers of green oak leaves and lining the cavity with bark from dead trees. In winter, they feed on the acorns, nuts, and maple seeds that they buried in fall.
  • Downy woodpeckers roost in tree cavities, which they excavate and line with wood chips.
  • Foxes are great hunters, especially in the winter months. A fox’s excellent sense of hearing and smell allows him to find meals rather effortlessly -- even under several inches of snow.
  • Blue jays provide early warning signals for many other species. When you hear a blue jay give an alarm call -- usually signaling that a hawk is nearby -- look quickly to catch a glimpse of other wildlife flying or scurrying for cover.
  • Chickadees stay active no matter how cold it gets, feeding constantly throughout the day and burning off half of the calories each night to keep warm.

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