Many mountain visitors hope to see wildlife and lots of it. Eager travelers with pepper visitors with questions about the best places and times to see the bears and moose. They share stories with fellow travelers and hope to get tips on where to find the bigger game. They ponder wildlife guidebooks eager to find out more about their favorite species and where they can be found. And still a certain frustration persists. There is no bear around each corner. The bird of bighorn may, as shown on a travel brochure, not be seen every day. So what is a traveler doing? Well, research and endurance can greatly increase your odds for discovering wildlife.
Travel brochures can sometimes leave a person with the impression that wildlife fits on every corner. Unlikely. Animals in our mountain parks have large areas and may be reluctant to show themselves to humans. Think about your own habits. If a friend was looking for you, could they find you by looking in your living room window every afternoon? Chances are you may be at work and only there in the evenings.
Do some reading on your favorite animals and find out where they like to hang out. Bighorn sheep may be easy to detect when they descend to lower heights for winter processing, but when moving to higher heights to birth it can be hard to see them at all. If there is a certain kind you want to see, consider adjusting your travel plans to increase your viewing chances. If you are already in the area, evenings and early mornings are good days all year round to discover many animals. You may need to set an alarm so you can jump on the audience, but it is well worth it.
Another trick of experienced wildlife watchers is to fill around the time to watch larger species with some small but interesting animals. Squirrels and chipmunks are relatively easy to detect and always entertaining as they cross the wood floor and collect and store this years harvest. Watching birds can give us some tips on the mountain environment and sparkle a lifelong passion. For example, did you know that the American Dipper, a little black bird that has dumped on the knees in fast currents, can be found to do the same movement in the winters death? This type of stamina observed in such a small bird can spark a desire to learn more about bird watching.
Bugs are another form of wildlife that is often overlooked, but skies and butterflies are beautiful, hard visitors at our mountain parks. Next time you see an attempt, turn the binoculars up and down for a closer look. This gives you an instant microscope and an entry into a whole new world. Plants, lichens and smallest insects become a kaleidoscope of color when you look this way. Some keepers get so excited they forget that they were looking for the charismatic megafanuna.
So the next time you find yourself wondering where all the wilderness went, try turning the binoculars over for another look at our mountain parks. The search for wildlife can be as fun as the actual spotting. And the chance is, when you spend so much time exploring, you will encounter the animal experiences you were looking for.
Some Wildlife Watching Reminders
Do not get too close - If the animal changes its behavior as a result of your presence, chances are you have become too close. This is especially true in autumn and spring when animals are desperate to refuel the fuel. Every time they are hunted by human observers, they use the energy needed to survive.
Do not feed wildlife - Its not only dangerous to humans, its not good for animals. It can create an addiction that causes them to disturb or prevent them from eating the food that will keep them healthy.
Limit the Use of Calls - Birds or MP3s with animal calls can give you the opportunity to take animals closer to viewing, but prolonged use can disturb the animals very much and disturb common behaviors.