Dec 18 2013

Tracks Count

Published by at 6:30 am under Quiz

Bird footprints in the snow (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

'Tis the season for Christmas Bird Counts and snow.

During the Christmas Bird Count volunteers tally the number of birds by species in each 15-mile diameter circle.

Did you know that you can count a bird if you find its fresh footprints?  The tracks tell you the bird was here recently. But what bird?

Here's a quiz to test your skill.  Identify the species that made these tracks:

(#1) In the photo above the tracks are about 2" to 3" long and 4" apart and were made in a city.  What bird made them?

(#2) In the photo below the footprints are 6" to 7" long in a rural backyard in Saxonburg, PA

Bird tracks in snow, Saxonburg, PA


and (#3) below, from the Ode Street Tribune blog, are footprints about 5" long in a city park near a river.

Bird footprints in the snow, Arlington VA (photo from Ode Treet Tribune blog)


Test your skill.  Leave a comment with your answer.


(photos: top and middle footprint photos are from Wikimedia Commons. Last photo is from the Ode Street Tribune blog. Click on each image to see the original ... and it will give you the answer to the bird's identity.)

p.s.  Click here for Christmas Bird Count information from

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Tracks Count”

  1. steveon 18 Dec 2013 at 9:16 am

    Wild Turkey!

    And I wish that I would have known this before our count last week. Does this work with sand too? Roadrunners are very easy to spot, but lucky for us we got 2 of them visually.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Kate St. Johnon 18 Dec 2013 at 9:45 am

    Steve, here in PA it works for sand & mud too.

  3. Gail Meisteron 18 Dec 2013 at 9:40 am

    Pigeon, Turkey, Canada Goose???????

  4. Nathalie Picardon 18 Dec 2013 at 10:52 am

    Crow, turkey, Canada goose

  5. Kate St. Johnon 18 Dec 2013 at 11:11 am

    Congratulations, Nathalie. You got all 3 right!

  6. Marianneon 18 Dec 2013 at 7:20 pm

    The “icing” on the many turkey tracks at my home for our Christmas Bird Count last Saturday, was seeing 3 sets of wing imprints, one after another, in the snow until the turkey became airborne! I wish I would have had my camera with me….it was pretty cool!

  7. steveon 19 Dec 2013 at 10:23 am

    I didn’t know that they were 3 different birds! Sorry.

  8. Kate St. Johnon 19 Dec 2013 at 10:36 am

    Hint on these tracks: Notice the webbing on the last set of tracks. That bird swims!

  9. Tomas Gonzaleson 27 Dec 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Crow, Turkey, Canada goose

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