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Wetlands in the Winter

Wetlands in winter are a very different place than during the other times of the year. It may appear more active in summer with wildlife flying, jumping and swimming throughout the plants and trees in the water. However, If you take the time to observe and use your senses you will see wildlife abound in the colder seasons, too.

wetland bird wing track in snow

Besides missing the bird species that have migrated and the amphibians and reptiles that are hibernating well below the snow and ice - there is much to enjoy here.

Have you noticed the mounds built by muskrats at Gilmore MetroPark? They live in these dens during the winter and will leave them to eat on shoots and roots of aquatic plants under the water.

 

wetland muskrat den


If you visit a wetland after a fresh snowfall you may be able to tell who walked, hopped or flew there before you arrived. Along the edges there may be entrances to tunnels built by small mammals such as mice. These runs attach one area to another with the snow acting like an insulated blanket for these tiny furry rodents.

 

mouse in entrance

 

Print off the Wetland in Winter Page and see if you can find the items on the list on your nest trip to the park. Then, venture out to the park again after a snowfall and see what else you can find.

Wetland in winter can you find page

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