Enjoy This Hike and Seek Activity at the Bulkeley Hill Preserve!
CLT's Bulkeley Hill Preserve is a wonderful place to discover nature - And families can use our 'Hike and Seek' suggestions for observing nature on their own while enjoying the outdoors and getting fresh air and exercise. There are a number things to both see and hear and experience along the red loop trail.
Woodpeckers are adept at making homes for other types of birds and animals as they bore holes in dead trees to get at the insect larvae underneath the tree bark. Snags are dead standing trees and there are many snags on the Bulkeley Hill Preserve where woodpeckers have created holes. If you stand very quietly and watch the holes, you may see smaller birds like titmice and chickadees making a nest or feeding their babies inside holes made by woodpeckers.
Beavers have been very busy at the Bulkeley Hill Preserve, cutting down trees and making a damn that is raising the water level of the pond on the property. If you walk down near the pond, you will see where the beavers have been working. You may not see the beavers however, as they are nocturnal animals and do most of their work at night while humans are sleeping.
Cavity trees are dead or living trees that have a large hole or cavity. A tree cavity is a great place for small animals and birds to hide from predators, raise their young, sleep and stay dry. There are many trees with large cavities on the Bulkeley Hill Preserve. Some are at the bottom of the tree and some are much higher up. These cavities are used by squirrels, raccoons, opossums, bats, owls, and many species of birds.
Small Animals Under Stones and Logs
If you carefully turn over a stone or a log, you may find many tiny creatures living underneath. Salamanders, beetles, pill bugs, spiders, millipedes and centipedes all like to make their home in the damp cool environment under stones and logs.
Wood frogs, peepers, green frogs, gray treefrogs and bullfrogs all make their home at the Bulkeley Hill Preserve. The wood frogs are the first to be heard beginning in late March and early April with their quacking which sound like hundreds of ducks. The peepers begin to 'peep' as soon as the days begin to warm in the spring, followed by the green frogs' 'gunk-gunk-gunk' come May. They can be heard down by the the pond along with the bullfrogs and their deep and low 'jug-o-rum' call. The gray treefrogs' short high trill can be heard on warm summer evenings.
A pair of barred owls live at the Bulkeley Hill Preserve and they can be heard calling to each other across the woods all year long. Owls tend to mate for life and find each other every year during the breeding season. When a pair of barred owls are together, their calls can sound like maniacal laughter. Listen for them when you are on the preserve and you may hear them asking each other 'Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?'.
You will see and hear many kinds of birds when you visit the Bulkeley Hill Preserve, but, by far one of the loudest and most interesting is the pileated woodpecker. It is a large bird about the size of a crow with a bright red crest on the top of its head. If you listen carefully, you may hear many kinds of woodpeckers drumming on the trees in the forest, but the pileated woodpecker's will be the deepest and loudest. You may even hear this birds shrill, whinnying call that sounds as if it is laughing!
Both red and gray foxes live within the vicinity of the Bulkeley Hill Preserve. Their normal home range is an area from 2 to 4 square miles and they can be quite vocal, making a number of different sounds such as yaps, barks, howls, cries, and whines. But the scariest noise they make is typical in the mating season!