We have had our eye out for critter prints but the only one we have seen that has been clear enough to really recognize is this dog print along our walking trail. We are not giving up though, the winter is still young.
From the Handbook of Nature Study, page 254:
"The dog's feet are much more heavily padded than those of the cat, because in running he must not stop to save his feet. Hounds often return from a chase with bleeding feet, despite the heavy pads, but the wounds are usually cuts between the toes. The claws are heavy and are not retractile; thus, they afford a protection to the feet when running, and they are also used for digging out game which burrows into the ground. They are not used for grasping prey like those of the cat and are used only incidentally in fighting, while the cat's claws are the most important weapons in her armory."
The Handbook of Nature Study has many suggestions for observations of dogs. The section starts on page 254 and ends on page 260.
The most exciting news is that our birdfeeders have been very busy. We even identified a new bird. It was the Cassin's finch. It looks very much like the purple finch but the coloring on the head is much more pronounced. I also found a great new bird identification site that not only is an online field guide, it also has a button to hear the bird songs online. Eureka! I have wanted to start to learn to identify birds by their songs so this is perfect.
Click on the image to make it larger!
Have you ever seen a guard llama? We were out on a new section of our local walking trail and this is the scene that we observed. My son told me that he had seen on a nature show that a llama will actually guard a herd of sheep. I had never heard of this before so I had to come home and research it. He was right! Here is an article that I found on this subject.
You learn something new every day.
There is no information in the Handbook of Nature Study on llamas...not surprised at that. There is a section starting on page 270 that talks about sheep.
From page 273:
"The dog is the ancient enemy of sheep: and even now, after hundreds of years of domestication, some of our dogs will revert to savagery and chase and kill sheep.....The collie, or sheep dog, has been bred so many years as the special caretaker of sheep, that a beautiful relationship has been established between these dogs and their flocks."
Well, that sort of catches you up with our nature study for the past week or two. We are still busy catching up on our drawings in our nature journals for animals we have seen. It is a really good activity for these long, cold afternoons.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom