Tracking the Wild Mammals of Pennsylvania

A white tail deer track (outlined in yellow) nestled amongst the leaves of native trees and stellaria media. The common name for this wild edible is chickweed. Chickweed is a great source of food for white tails throughout the winter as it can grow all winter long and survive underneath the snow.

Ever wonder who lives among us in the Pennsylvania Woods? We found this nifty project called “The Mammal Atlas” that will take place over a 10 year period, and is a  project that seeks to answer that very question.It is a living document that tracks  and records the wild mammals of our region as well as throughout the entire state.

The project is done in partnership with the PA Game Commission, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the US Fish and Wildlife Service and many others. Additionally, some of the work and data collection is done by volunteers. 

On the home page there is a map that allows you to click on your county of interest and see what has been found to date.
There is even a check list which tells you if the animal is native, endangered and its ranking within the state.

They have this to say about using volunteers for their data collection,
“our best resource for collecting widespread data is you, the citizen scientists, submitting photographs and locations of the mammals you observe.”

Here is a cool info-graphic to get you started with identifying the mammals and birds of our region. Whether you volunteer with the Mammal Atlas or not, identifying wild animal tacks can be a great way to familiarize yourself with your local wildlife  and find out who is keeping you company on the trails or in your fields.

**As the snow begins to fall this is the perfect time to track and find who is out and about in the forests and fields of our regions. But be careful out there, if there are tracks near by, there could also be a critter nearby too. Always use caution when encountering wild animals and never provoke them or approach them.