Wildlife Winter Preparations Gunflint Trail Style

     I’ve blogged quite a bit about all of the preparations we humans have to do on the Gunflint Trail before the snow covers the earth.  It’s really an endless list because there is always something more we could be doing.  As I write this blog I’m aware of the gutters for the lodge, the patio furniture on the deck and the piles of brush that still need to be pulled out of the woods but I’d rather focus on something more simple.  The wildlife around Voyageur are also preparing for winter with pretty much one goal in mind, stockpiling as much food as possible. 

     The critters on the Gunflint Trail are just as busy as us two-leggeds as they get ready for winter.  The red squirrels and chipmunks scurry about with their mouths packed full of food.  Up a tree they go only to come back down the other side seconds later for another trip.  The whiskey jacks flitter above until they swoop down for food to bring back to their hiding spot in a tree.  I wonder how many times a bird is surprised when they land on a tree and find a hidden cache of food from another bird or a chipmunk?

     I’ve watched closely as the fox find food and stash it for later.  Sometimes they dig a shallow hole and cover the food with a twig or two and call it good.  The next time they find food they leave for 5 or 10 minutes before returning for another round.  I’m sure it would be quite interesting to have a camera on a fox and find out how much and how far a particular fox travels with all of their stashes of food.

     Other wildlife on the Gunflint Trail is preparing for winter.  The snow buntings are only here for a short time but they are busy nonetheless.  The rabbits are hopping about with their half-white and half -brown coats of fur.  Beavers, pine martens and bear are no doubt ready to settle down for the winter and the moose will welcome the colder temperatures and snow.  

     The preparations for winter continue for all inhabitants of the Gunflint Trail as the snowflakes flutter from the sky.