Tips on How to See Wildlife

Writer / Erin Kinnetz

wildlifeA bald eagle diving into a creek feet-first to bring up a fish. A great horned owl perched serenely in a maple tree dozing in the morning. A dark-brown mink industriously slipping between the roots of a sycamore tree in search of prey. These are just some of the great scenes visitors have been able to witness in our parks while hiking, biking and paddling the Parklands’ nearly 4,000 acres. Even though our forests are bursting with wildlife, we don’t often get to witness it. So how do you get to see wildlife?

  1. Go out often. There is no way around it – sometimes it’s just about luck. The more you go out, the more chances you will have to see wildlife.
  2. Go in the early morning. Many of our animals just aren’t active at midday. Early in the morning you will get a chance to see nocturnal animals that are late to bed, diurnal animals that are early risers and crepuscular animals as well. I know this one is tough, but make a commitment to yourself and give yourself the gift of a dawn hike every once in a while.
  3. Be open to anything. Look and listen in all directions. If you decide on a hike to search for a single animal like a box turtle, you will spend the whole hike looking at the ground and miss the red-tailed hawk hunting above you.
  4. Be small. Make your presence as small as possible. Be quiet. Move slow and easy. Wear neutral colors. Don’t wear scents.
  5. wildlifeKeep your distance. Despite your best efforts, many animals will know you’re coming and will hide. They are just doing what keeps them safe. Pick a good spot and sit there with a nice set of binoculars. Not only will wildlife begin to wander into your line of sight, but you may also start to notice animals that were there all along and are camouflage wizards.
  6. Start to appreciate the little wildlife. The more you go out, the more you start to appreciate the common and the tiny. You will never be disappointed about seeing wildlife if you count all of the thousands of insects, arachnids, slugs and worms.

A gift to the Parklands not only helps to maintain our parks today, but will also positively shape the future of Louisville, and truly benefit current and future generations through access to world-class parks. To donate, please visit 21st Century Parks is a 501(c)(3) organization and all gifts are tax-deductible.

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