The dawn of spring is just hours away and activity at the Detroit Zoo is full speed ahead. Today’s Wilder Side of Oakland County nature and trails blogs shares a blue-sky exploratory adventure, including seven favorite wildlife encounters and a look at one of the behind-the-scenes operations of this world class zoo that’s operated by the Detroit Zoological Society and located in southernmost Oakland County.
Now until March 21st, experience an immersive light display at Waterford Oaks County Park that pays homage to those we’ve lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, gives thanks to the people who have continued to risk their lives in the face of the coronavirus to keep us healthy and safe, and expresses gratitude for all of those who have helped us through the last year during the #OaklandTogether COVID-19 Tribute Walk.
“Rail-trails are multipurpose public paths created from former railroad corridors. These paths are flat or gently sloping, making them easily accessible and a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Rail-trails are ideal for many types of activities–depending on the rules established by the local community–including walking, bicycling, wheelchair use, inline skating, cross-country skiing and horseback riding.”
The days are short, and darkness comes all too soon. The dawn of winter draws near. We may feel sleepy at times, but there is no long winter nap awaiting the beaver (Castor canadensis,) the largest rodent of North America. Contrary to the belief of some, beavers do not hibernate. Beavers are true architects of the wildlife world. Although these highly-skilled engineers are almost never seen in winter, the evidence of their activity is everywhere, from the most rural sections of our county to the wooded banks of the Clinton River in the city of Pontiac.
Aldo Leopold wrote: “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.” I consider myself an unabashed member of the latter group. Coyotes certainly represent “wild things,” but they are not restricted to rural sections of our county. They are extremely adaptable creatures, and it’s perfectly normal for them to be noticed not only in our State Recreation Areas, Oakland County Parks, and Huron-Clinton Metroparks, but also in our suburban and urban areas. Coyotes are found in every city and town in our county, including populous Pontiac, Royal Oak, and Rochester, nor are they strangers to the city of Detroit.
This excellent video of a coyote hunting meadow voles in a roadside field at Detroit’s Rouge Park, as a deer casually watched, was filmed last week and shared with me by my nature friend, Donna Croaker Hall.