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Winter Wildlife Viewing
By Mike Pratt, Director of Wildlife Services
Wildlife viewing is often associated with the spring and summer but the fall and winter months also offer great opportunities to view the wildlife around us.
In December large numbers of bald eagles begin to arrive at the Skagit River. This is a fantastic opportunity to observe and photograph eagles of all ages, in one area, performing natural behaviors. In many areas, great horned owls begin to nest in December and can be heard vocally at night. Barred owls are also very vocal in the winter months and can often be seen in the daytime hours hunting for food.
Your backyard bird feeder provides a great opportunity to observe winter bird species and squirrels. You can also help biologists understand how birds are faring amid unprecedented environmental challenges by participating in Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count and in the Great Backyard Bird Count.
A snowy owl in treatment at the Shelter.
Deer are very active in the fall due to rutting season. Winter also brings northern owl visitors such as the snowy owl and great grey owl, both of which can be seen during daylight hours. Winter months provide great opportunities to compare winter behaviors to the spring and summer behaviors.
On the cautious side, be watchful for wildlife on roads, especially at night. Wild animals are very active in the winter months looking for food, and hunting may cause animals to run into roads during daylight hours.
So, this fall and winter I hope that you will brave the cold and elements and enjoy the wild animals around us.
See our list of winter decorations you and your whole family can make that help wildlife.