My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Mammals – 2007 Checklist

I decided to split up my 2007 Nature Checklist into 5 different categories; Butterflies & Skippers, Amphibians, Reptiles, Mammals and Birds! Mammals (28) are the next family in my series of species that I have kept track of within Western New York State.

Red Squirrel
Red Squirrel

In 2007 I can’t say that I worked hard in finding any mammals species like in 2005 and 2006. They seemed to find me more than I was able to find them. As in previous years, a few summer nights brought me a screaming Fisher keeping me awake (learned its call after spotlighting one in 2006). Black Bear were around as normal with some unexpected roadside crossings. Who could forget the Long-tailed Weasel that terrorized my banding station. Raccoons continued to raid my trash can (occasional Bear) and the Christmas Opossum make a quick visit before the holidays.

About to Run skunk
White-tailed Deer fawn and Striped Skunk

Although I constantly hear Coyotes howling at night . . . one evening while closing my Owl nets the Coyotes ended up getting just a little “too close”! It was around 1am in the morning and was happy for seeing a Saw-whet in the mist-net. As I was removing it, the leaves were falling making noises but were those really leaf sounds?? I found the hair rising on the back of my neck and started working quicker in removing this “extremely tangled bird” from the net. I then heard 5+ Coyotes howling within a few hundred yards of me!!! Yes, I still had not extracted that Owl from the net . . . lucky I remember a 4 foot pipe that I had up at the nets and quickly grabbed it “just in case” I needed it (and went back to extracting the Owl)! Never been so scared in my life (being eaten) and it is even worse when you know those sneaky ways that the pack hunt (blind sided their prey)! I did have a coyote charged me a few years ago but once it realized that I wasn’t a deer, it ran away! Of course that evening was a completely different situation. I was in the dark, by myself, couldn’t watch my back, had food (an owl) in my hands and couldn’t disappear because I needed to close my nets up (once I finished removing the owl from the net). These Coyotes had the upper hand of this situation and obviously I knew it (almost felt like a Gazelle being chased by Lions)!! Once I did returned back to the banding station . . . I quickly banded the bird, closed everything up and headed off to bed . . . I then laid in bed thinking for hours about the what if’s?? More recently we had found a Coyote deer kill and trust me . . . . it wasn’t a pretty thing to see!

Here is my list of mammals which I have listed in taxonomic order by common name (I would be happy to send you their Latin name for any species in question):

1. Eastern Chipmunk 15. Black Bear
2. Northern Flying Squirrel 16. Coyote
3. Black Squirrel 17. Fisher
4. Gray Squirrel 18. Red Fox
5. Fox Squirrel 19. Mink
6. Red Squirrel 20. Raccoon
7. Beaver 21. Striped Skunk
8. Muskrat 22. Long-tailed Weasel
9. Porcupine 23. White-tailed Deer
10. Woodchuck 24. Eastern Cottontail
11. Opossum 25. Deer Mouse
12. Big Brown Bat 26. House Mouse
13. Little Brown Bat 27. Meadow Vole
14. Northern Myotis 28. White-footed Deermouse

Long-tailed Weasel
Long-tailed Weasel

Harbor Seal
Should I included this Harbor Seal at Cape Cod with my checklist?

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32 responses

  1. An impressive list! The harbor seal definitely looks like a mammal to me so I would include it!


    3 January 2008 at 7:12 pm

  2. Wow, you putting the birdy’s life and your nets over your own life, that’s impressive Tom! I would have been a chicken and cut the net around the bird and got the heck out of there with it, untying the bird at home. But then nets aren’t cheap, are they? Anyway, you’re quite a guy!

    3 January 2008 at 7:24 pm

  3. Your coyote stories are very interesting and I guess I should respect their hunting abilities, especially in a pack. I wonder of they would go after my dog? I think a porcupine or skunk would worry more. Your recent posts have been excellent!

    3 January 2008 at 7:30 pm

  4. colleen

    Hi Monarch – I was walking in the woods one day around 4 pm ish when I heard a blood curdling screech. It came from up in a tree but I couldn’t see anything. I thought it may be a Barn owl since I once heard one of their screams on one of those bird identifier sound things but I couldn’t be sure. It definitely made the hairs on my neck stand up – it was that creepy. What does the fisher scream sound like? Do you think that could have been it? I am in Central Virginia and don’t even know if fishers are common here.



    3 January 2008 at 7:44 pm

  5. Awesome list and great blog Monarch. I found you when Gloria of Pollinators Welcome suggested you may be interested in my top 10 nature moments of 2007 meme (here: I’d be honoured if you’d partake but in the meantime this blog is going straight into my google reader list.

    3 January 2008 at 8:13 pm

  6. Michael Head

    The pipe would certainly would have helped but a small side arm (now everybody lets not get nuts here) would have been much better and justified as you were alone in the dark. Also one of those 6,000,000 candle power lights tends to spook them too. I’d rather keep Tom around than any single Coyote. Great story!

    3 January 2008 at 9:31 pm

  7. Ooo–I love the coyote story too. Interesting to get a perspective on what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the predatory pipeline!

    3 January 2008 at 9:31 pm

  8. @ Tom – thanks but isn’t mammals from WNY!! Hmm, I guess it’s a mammal that I can include! I am planning on including the birds from Cape Cod!
    @ Pam – Safety of the birds are my #1 priority! Ugg, but I kept saying to myself “if they were going to take me down, they would have done it by now”!
    @ Ruth – They are smart mammals for sure! I have found a Coyote making friends with a Lab who was following the Coyote but once the Coyote saw me it took off! I called the persons number on the dogs tag and the owner picked it up! I was telling a Coyote expert about that event and he told me that I saved the Lab’s life! I guess Coyotes will make friends and once the dog gets to the pack they attack to kill! Just be careful with them and you should always keep your dogs on a leash!
    @ Colleen – Not sure if I could ever explain the scream of the Fisher! I have tried searching for an online call but have not had any luck! I really need to try recording it one of these nights! Could have been one, we have had them call after shinning a flashlight up into the tree!! Screech Owls go ape nuts when Fishers are calling! Anytime I have ever heard a Fisher vocalize up in a tree, the tree has been a pine tree! Once I tracked a fisher (at 5am in the morning) into a grove of pines where it disappeared before I could get to it! They really move fast!
    @ Tai – thanks and check out your site!
    @ Mike – I have a 1,000,000 flood that I normally take with me but didn’t have it with me that time (made room for my speakers, remember I was closing my nets). It was me and my headlamp! I did have my cell phone and thought about calling the park police to make a visit! But, knew they would never let me live it down if nothing ever happened!
    @ KGMom – thanks and was scary for sure!

    3 January 2008 at 10:11 pm

  9. I love the little squirrel. And the long- tailed weasel is so cute.
    That is very scary what happened to you. I am glad you weren’t hurt.

    3 January 2008 at 11:56 pm

  10. Hey Tom I’ve read up on all your post with counts. Quite impressive. But your story here about the coyotes is a scary one. Makes me shiver but I’ll be back in the Alleganies come June. I’m looking forward to meeting you.

    4 January 2008 at 12:20 am

  11. What a great list of animals you saw this past year. The coyote story is scary. Shivers. I love the weasel photo. They really are pretty animals.

    4 January 2008 at 1:04 am

  12. Your fear was justified, Tom. I once watched three coyotes take a fawn away from a doe. There were always two attacking from the front while the other moved in from behind — sneaky and well coordinated.

    4 January 2008 at 1:44 am

  13. Heather (Ephemeron)

    I’d never been scared of coyotes until Leo and I walked right into a group of them. They were barking threateningly at us and calling to another group of them just up the path, so we were pretty much surrounded. Of course Leo wanted to run over to greet them, and he is 100 pounds of malamute so he can really pull!!

    I wish you the best of luck finding all the creatures on your checklists this year!

    4 January 2008 at 1:49 am

  14. Hi Tom,

    Love the lists. Very useful.
    Wondering about the squirrels. So common in the cities and burbs, I rarely see any on the Quaker side of the park. Do you have them in Red House?


    4 January 2008 at 5:39 am

  15. We’ve had close encounters with Coyotes before but not THAT close!! Perhaps you should hire a “banding dog” to assist on late night owl removals 🙂

    Impressive list!!

    4 January 2008 at 9:11 am

  16. by the way the new photo of you is very nice. ~nita~

    4 January 2008 at 9:46 am

  17. I hate that feeling when you are alone out in the dark and you know there is something out there…I would have been terrified. Now with all the accounts of coyotes attacking people in the housing developments out west I am paying even more attention. I have really enjoyed your lists. You see an amazing array of creatures.

    4 January 2008 at 10:32 am

  18. Tomek

    This is amazing. It has inspired me to start my own list, even though it will be quite small in the city.

    4 January 2008 at 12:15 pm

  19. @ Nita – cute but that long tailed weasel was a little terror! Glad nothing ever happened also!
    @ Toni – thanks and was scary at the moment but didn’t let me stop my banding! I was just in the wrong place and the wrong time!
    @ Erie – thanks and just don’t want to see the weasel around my nets!
    @ Marvin – Would have loved to see that, thanks for sharing!
    @ Heather – O my, that would have been something! Lucky you did have your dog with you just in case!
    @ John – thanks and they are around! I do agree that I don’t see as many and in years past! Probably a cycle!
    @ Birdfreak – this really was a fluke situation and I learn from my mistakes!
    @ Nita – thanks, has been nice changing things!
    @ threecollie – I love being out in the dark at night! Just was one of those moments that I needed to be on my feet! Thanks!
    @ Tomek – It is good to list to see what you have around! I bet you would be amazed at what you end up finding!

    4 January 2008 at 12:17 pm

  20. Great list. Glad you survived the coyote encounters! 🙂

    4 January 2008 at 2:33 pm

  21. I love your 2007 lists.
    I never thought a coyote would bother a human…I’m WRONG! Good thing you escaped the gang of coyotes!

    4 January 2008 at 3:11 pm

  22. PS Include the harbor seal. The more the merrier.

    4 January 2008 at 3:15 pm

  23. Great lists Tom, I would definitely include the seal, the coyotes can be a bit freaky when walking thru the woods at night I know have had my share of them hanging close by me on my travels a field 🙂

    4 January 2008 at 3:39 pm

  24. That’s a scary coyote story, Tom. Glad they didn’t get any closer that night. Sadly my parents lost their dog to coyotes a few winters ago in their front yard. It was pretty sad.

    I absolutely LOVE that red squirrel picture. I have to go to flickr immediately and fave it! 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend! xxoo

    4 January 2008 at 3:51 pm

  25. @ Lana – thanks and we all need our hearts pumping from time to time right?
    @ Chicago – thanks and I guess it depends on the situation! It never did do anything, just checking me out! (I Hope)! I think I will, well did include my Cape Cod views in my birds list!
    @ Bernie – thanks and this is about as close as I want to get! Thanks!
    @ Lisa – thanks and who knows how close they really were! It is something we need to be concerned about if you have pets! Thanks and glad you did fave it!

    4 January 2008 at 5:21 pm

  26. TR

    Great list. I saw my first bobcat in 2007 and a fairly fresh set of mountain lion tracks that made me walk slowly and carry a big stick.

    4 January 2008 at 10:24 pm

  27. Marg

    Wow! The story of the coyotes at the mist nets made my skin tingle-didn’t know owl banding was so adrenalin pumping!

    Your end of year postings are exciting 😀

    6 January 2008 at 4:52 pm

  28. Lisa at Greenbow

    Your weasle picture reminded me of a mink I saw this year that stopped and looked at me long enough I could have taken its picture. I was too awed by the sight because it had a big ole bull frog in its mouth. I will never forget that picture in my mind.

    6 January 2008 at 8:23 pm

  29. @ TR – thanks and we have Bobcats but they are not easy to find!
    @ Marg – thanks and think about that when taking birds out of the mist net!
    @ Lisa – thanks they are fearless of humans! Too bad you couldn’t capture it on film!

    6 January 2008 at 11:38 pm

  30. Nice list of mammals – and yes, you should add the seal to the list!

    7 January 2008 at 10:44 am

  31. Grace

    Check around your banding site for a tree you could climb; coyotes can’t.

    Guard dogs might not help. Last winter, in Chautauqua County, a cross country skier was out with his dogs when 5 coyotes attacked. They killed the 2 dogs,but the man was not harmed.

    7 January 2008 at 1:46 pm

  32. @ Marty – Thanks and I kinda did!
    @ Grace – Maybe that hemlock but the dogs would get me before I got up far-enough! LOL!

    7 January 2008 at 7:13 pm

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