Thursday, 17 April 2014

At least one creature had a good winter

As the snow melts we've seen repeated evidence that there was at least one animal that benefitted from this harsh winter. If you remember back to December, we had quite an ice storm in much of southern Ontario. This resulted in millions of broken tree limbs that ended up on the ground. Then, as I'm sure everyone here has forgotten, we got hammered by snow all winter, with seemingly no break. That built up a nice thick layer of insulating snow.

So, what resulted was a whole whack-load of branches being buried by the snow. This is perfect for the small mammals that live in the sub-nivean space (below the snow). They had insulation from the cold, protection from (some) predators, and an ample food supply in the form of delicious bark of small branches.

Now that the snow has melted it has revealed their presence:
This is a good reminder of how deep the drifts were!

Have you seen branches like this? We've been seeing them all over near our house north of Kingston and I assume it is mostly the work of Meadow Voles, but would be interested to hear other thoughts. The deep snow also made it possible for things like rabbits to reach branches higher up that they normally couldn't reach.

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