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Our Field Ecology Center published more than 180 methodical materials for nature studies. Some of them are in English:
Mobile educational application: Ecological Field Studies Techniques on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of North America: Songs and Calls Decoys on Play.Google WILD FLOWERS OF RUSSIA Field Identification Guide on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of Russia on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of Russia Songs, Calls and Voices on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of Europe Songs, Calls and Voices on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of Europe Songs, Calls and Voices on Play.Google
Mobile Educational Apps and Field Identification Guides for Russian, European and American Birds
Applications for Android and iOS are available at GooglePlay and AppStore

Please indicate our source ecosystema.ru if you publish these materials in the Internet.

Study of Mammal Ecology According to Their Tracks

© Alexsander S. Bogolyubov, Russia, 1999

© Michael J. Brody, USA, 2003

Study of Mammal Ecology According to Their TracksThis manual provides a procedure for "tracking" mammals according to tracks left in the snow. Focus is on the behavior of mammals: size of their habitat, biotopic and habitat distribution, feeding sites, behavior during feeding, etc. Several methods of determining track freshness, the direction of movement and rules for tracking are described.

This field study has instructional video featuring real students conducting the ecological field techniques in nature. Each video illustrates the primary instructional outcomes and the major steps in accomplishing the task including reporting the results.

Introduction

Snow cover, which replaces autumn's leaves and mud, provides zoologists with an opportunity to delve into undercover details of animal life, especially mammals, including the most careful and reserved ones. Any beast, regardless of its size, leaves tracks on the snow surface, in other words "an autograph" on loose snow, especially newly fallen snow.

An observer who has certain pathfinder's skills (which can and should be mastered over time,) learns what animals the tracks belong to and under what conditions they have been left. If one follows the whole route (track route) of an animal, recording carefully all evidence impressed on snow, then it is possible to precisely describe all features of animal life in quantitative indicators at the given section of the route.

The given lesson involves independent students' work in "tracking" animals that inhabit the vicinities of the school or a field study center, which leave tracks on the snow. They are mainly mammals characterized as active in winter. They include hoofed animals: elk, deer, wild boars, roe deer; Lagmorpha: brown hare and Alpine hare; rodents: squirrels, muskrats, beavers, Carnivore: wolves, foxes, raccoons, lynx; martens, minks, polecats, ermine, weasels, otters and wolverines.

The task involves tracking several (different) individuals belonging to one or several animal species out of the mammals found in the given area.

A map of the area where tracking will take place is required (a large-scale map is preferable), as well as rulers, compasses and field notebooks.

Essentials of the tracking procedure

The tracking procedure generally consists of the following: an observer goes along a chain of animal footprints "to the toes" (in the same direction as the animal) or "to the heel" (against the animal movement); the observer is not allowed to cut off any loops or turnings made by an animal, as hunters usually do. The distance covered is counted in steps, whereas the direction of each turn is measured according to the compass. All the data is recorded in the field notebook or plotted on the available plan of the site. At the same time, students should register all of the important features of the animal's behavior.

What are tracks? Determination and measurement of tracks

Preliminary excursions, study of literature, photos and drawings of animal tracks and practical training aimed at familiarization with tracks of major animal species in the given area will help students to master practical skills of track determination. Data on relative numbers of different animal species and skills in track determination that have been gained in the previous lesson will make selecting the object of study much easier.

The given educational task involves dealing not only with tracks in their classical representation, i.e. footprints of paws, but with other traces of vital animal functions left on snow as well.

Traces of vital functions are usually considered as follows:

Trails of movement - footprints of paws or other parts of a body (a tail, a belly), broken shrubs, compacted paths, littering caused by animal's movement through branches and thickets.

Traces of feeding activity - food debris and food reserves, digging in snow, traces of a search for food, feeding tables, bitten and broken plants, traces of chasing and dragging of prey, etc.

Tracks associated with shelter-making - burrows, lairs, lies, passages under the snow, etc.

Traces of life functions - excrement, urinary spills, traces of molting and hair shedding.

Information tracks - traces of information-passing which indicate occupancy of the area - bite marks and scratches on trees and on the ground, discharge of musky glands, sound signals.

It is necessary to remember that tracks of a group of animals are almost never found just as they are, for instance, trails of movement can be associated with search for ...

 

This was only the first page from the manual and its full version you can see in the

Our Paperback and eBooks on Amazon, Google Play and App Store

It is possible to purchase our books about nature investigation with students on Amazon.com:

"Investigating Nature Together" eBooks:

Amazon eBook Investigating Nature Together. Part 1: Autumn Amazon eBook Investigating Nature Together. Part 2: Winter Amazon eBook Investigating Nature Together. Part 3: Spring Amazon eBook Investigating Nature Together. Part 4: Summer

and Paperback: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer

and

"Field Studies Techniques" eBooks:

Amazon eBook Field Studies Techniques. Part 1: Geography and Landscape sciences Amazon eBook Field Studies Techniques. Part 2: Botany Amazon eBook Field Studies Techniques. Part 3: Zoology Amazon eBook Field Studies Techniques. Part 4: Hydrobiology and Water Ecology Amazon eBook Field Studies Techniques. Part 5: Bioindication and Nature Monitoring

and Paperback: Geography, Botany, Zoology, Hydrobiology, Bioindication


All these manuals you can also purchase in the form of applications for smartphones and tablets on Google Play and App Store
Mobile educational application Ecological Field Studies Techniques: Investigating Nature with Kids

 

Other Ecological Field Studies Instructive Manuals:

Autumn Season
Book on Amazon

  1. Orienteering in the Forest
  2. Procedure of the Geological Exposure Description
  3. Plotting a Profile of a River Valley Slope
  4. Simple Procedure of Soil Description
  5. Assessment of the Vital State of a Forest Based on Pine-tree Analysis
  6. Study of Species Composition and Number of Fungi
  7. Study of Species Composition and Census of Birds Using the Line Transect-counting Method
  8. Integrated Study Based on Landscape Profile
  9. Complex Environmental Assessment of Human Impact on an Area
  10. Assessment of Air Pollution by Lichen Indication Method

Winter Season
Book on Amazon

  1. Making a Campfire
  2. Simple "Eye" Survey of the Field Study Site
  3. Study of Growth Dynamics of Trees Based on Annual Rings
  4. Mapping Forest Vegetation
  5. Green Plants Under Snow
  6. Methods of Observation of a Chickadee Flock's Territorial Behavior
  7. Procedure of Winter Mammals Route Census by Footprints
  8. Study of Mammal Ecology According to Their Tracks
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties of Natural Waters
  10. Study of Snow Cover Profile

Spring Season
Book on Amazon

  1. Let's Help Birds!
  2. Study of the Ecology of Early Flowering Plants
  3. Phenology of Plant Florescence
  4. Assessment of the Vital State of Coniferous Underbrush
  5. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part I: Forest Litter, Wood)
  6. Studies of Species Composition and Abundance of Amphibians
  7. Studying Minerals and Rocks in Your Area
  8. Studies of the Day Activity of Singing Birds
  9. Studies of Bird Populations Size by Different Methods
  10. Study of Fauna of Spring Temporary Water Bodies

Summer Season
Book on Amazon

  1. Making a Herbarium
  2. The Study of Plants in Your Local Environment
  3. Study of the Vertical Structure of a Forest
  4. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part 2: Grass Layer, Tree Crowns and Air)
  5. Study of Birds' Nesting Life
  6. Complex Comparative Description of Small Rivers and Streams
  7. The Study of Water Invertebrates in a Local River and Assessment of Its Environmental State
  8. Study of Plankton
  9. Assessment of Ecological Features of Meadows on the Base of Vegetation Cover
  10. Assessment of Environmental State of the Forest Based on Leaves' Asymmetry


Our Field Ecology Center published more than 180 methodical materials for nature studies. Some of them are in English:
Mobile educational application: Ecological Field Studies Techniques on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of North America: Songs and Calls Decoys on Play.Google WILD FLOWERS OF RUSSIA Field Identification Guide on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of Russia on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of Russia Songs, Calls and Voices on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of Europe Songs, Calls and Voices on Play.Google Mobile field guide Birds of Europe Songs, Calls and Voices on Play.Google
Mobile Educational Apps and Field Identification Guides for Russian, European and American Birds
Applications for Android and iOS are available at GooglePlay and AppStore

Recommend this page to your friends:

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© Ёкологический центр "Ёкосистема"Щ, ј.—. Ѕоголюбов / © Field Ecology Center "Ecosystem"Щ, Alexander Bogolyubov, 2001-2020