Wildlife when the leaves are down

Winter is a wonderful time to get out and see various wildlife once the leaves have fallen. Metro Parks are the perfect places to satisfy your passion to see wild animals, particularly at sunrise and sunset.

Bufflehead ducks. Photo/Edith Wood

Northern harriers and other raptors can be seen in the open spaces of the Marshhawk Trail at Glacier Ridge. The adjacent wetlands are also terrific to see migrating waterfowl such as blue-winged teal and bufflehead ducks. Mink also make a home for themselves in and around the wetlands.

Barred owls cozy up to each other. Photo/Brad Paskievitch

Barred owls are the stars of the show at Blacklick Woods, especially around Ashton Pond and close to the nature center. Inniswood is another great spot to see barred owls. Look for them in the tall pines close to the Innis House.

Deer rutting. Photo/Bruce Miller

It’s mating season for white-tailed deer through November, so you might see bucks setting themselves up for a territorial challenge. The forest areas at Sharon Woods, Blacklick Woods and Prairie Oaks are the best spots to see them.

Red fox. Photo/Kim Graham

Other mammals, such as foxes, squirrels and raccoons are plentiful on the Frog Talk Walk Trail at Inniswood, where they use fallen trees as home.

There are many more areas and species to see in Metro Parks.

Tell us about the wildlife you see, and send us photos, to mediagroup@metroparks.net.

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