Country Corner with George Hogg

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Last week we talked of rat tracking as we discussed a photo taken of prints on a dusty grain shed floor.

Here is another picture from the same shed, though much easier for you to take a guess at.

A feral pigeon, walking towards the right of picture, has taken flight, brushing the floor with its wing tips and tail as it launched.

If I ask you how we tell it was taking off rather than landing, what do you say?

Simply follow the foot prints.

All belong to traceable lines through the picture, where the pigeon, or other pigeons have walked.

But what of the footprint right behind the tail drag? There is no subsequent print in that line, the bird has left the ground.

Also, of course, if the bird had been landing you would expect a pair of heavy footprints in front of the tail , those prints would then set off to form a new line of footprints across the floor. Such indoor tracks in dust, flour and suchlike, are ideal for the novice tracker.

If there is still some grain or feedstuff piled on the floor, see if there are any tracks leading on or off the pile.

This will teach you how to tell rat, pigeon or mouse trails apart when they have been left as no more than dents in the surface of grain or other cereals.

This is a vital skill, as farmers rightly get very concerned about trails on stored grain and expect the tracker to be able to say what made them.

So there you are, two tracking articles in a row, surely someone out there is tempted to rise to the challenge.

Anywhere with wet sand or firm mud is a good starting point.

Try the beach soon after high tide.

Who knows what wildlife tales you might unravel!

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