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Guidance on How To Trail the Traces of Birds

Aug 17, 2007
Some people like to hunt the birds instead of deer or rabbit. It is mostly depending on their taste of which animal they like to supper. But trailing the traces or track of birds can become easier if we can have guidance to recognize them.

You can find bird traces and wing marks only in the snow, soft sand, or on moist loam.
The thrush usually hops, leaving claw prints in pairs next to each other. Mincing short steps occur when it is waggling along directly toward something. When the thrush takes off from deep snow, it leaves marks with its wings because the large feathers hit the snow as the wings close.

The crow leaves larger traces than the thrush and is found more frequently. Since its legs are turned in somewhat, the crow waddles, and this can be seen in the traces. The marks made by the wings are also more pronounced than those of the thrush.

The jay leaves traces of about the same size as those of the thrush. They are found in pairs, at intervals of about five to six inches. Usually not many traces are found together, for the jay is not a ground bird. On the other hand, it often does leave traces of scratching, as it likes to dig for the squirrels' hidden provisions. The jay also drops feathers, and the blue plumage definitely reveals its presence.

The traces of the partridge approach those of the crow in size, but the toes are spread even farther apart. The partridge leaves cross-traced tracks and also flies up frequently, leaving wing marks which are especially pronounced since it beats its wings strongly when taking off and landing.

A plucking is the name given to a pile of feathers on which bits of skin, legs, or parts of the skull are still hanging. If you come across one, you will know that a bird of prey made the killing, since a marten, a polecat or a fox would have dragged its prey into its den. You can guess at what sort of bird of prey it was by the size of its booty and by the feathers lost in the struggle. Larger birds, from the pigeon to the partridge, fall victim to the hawk. The buzzard eats mice.

Other marks of animals and birds
You may come across skeleton parts, skull bones and jaws. Some are illustrated on the following pages.

Castings and vomiting also give you valuable clues, but these are not easy to notice. Castings are balls of indigestible bits of food vomited by birds of prey, who devour their food with skin and hair, neglecting only the biggest feathers and parts which are found as plucking. Castings can be distinguished from droppings by the content of mouse hair and bits of bone.

Traces of digging or scratching also provide evidence of the kind of animal you are trailing. Every animal has its own manner of burrowing, scratching, or otherwise deliberately destroying certain irregularities in the ground.

Small game animals often dig themselves a home in the ground and you can learn to recognize the different kinds of tunnels and burrows. You may find parts of horns or antlers, too.

From this article we learnt that, when following tracks that you are trying to interpret, droppings will help you determine what animal has gone by. The condition of the droppings also often throws light on the feeding habits of the animal in question.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.best-scopes-n-binoculars.com/, http://www.guidetocamping.info/ , http://www.goodbudgetholiday.info/
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