by guest blogger Deborah Price, Education Coordinator, Bobcat Ridge Natural Area
We often hear that we share our spaces with wildlife, but it’s more likely that wildlife share their spaces with us.
This reality comes to light through a wildlife camera study that is currently happening at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area near Masonville. Eight on-site cameras have captured photos of animal residents such as bears, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, bighorn sheep, elk, deer, rabbits, birds, skunks, wild turkeys, squirrels, and even a mountain lion! Many of these photos are captured at night, but a good number are taken in broad daylight right on the trails, sometimes just a few minutes before or after people have walked in the same spot.
What this tells us is that animals are watching us when we least expect it, and that they try to avoid encounters as much as possible. In other words, if we allow them their space, encounters are fewer and nature’s patterns continue as they should.
While the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program conserves spaces for humans to recreate, relax, and reconnect with nature, these are also important spaces for wildlife to live their lives.
If you’ve ever visited Bobcat Ridge, you can consider yourself lucky if you’ve spotted one of the wildlife residents. That’s what has made this project so amazing. Other than birds, insects, and a few rabbits, we may not see animals much of the time, but they are there and are doing well.
This doesn’t mean that you never see wildlife. There have been plenty of sightings at Bobcat Ridge—it just requires a little patience. When you do get that surprise sighting, how exciting it is!
Enjoy your outing in these beautiful places, and remember how lucky we are to have wildlife share their homes with us. Thanks for the welcome mat!
If you’d like to find out more about this project and see more photos of the wildlife that’s been “captured” so far, please visit the Bobcat Ridge Natural Area camera capture project page at: http://www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/wildlife-camera.php