A Natural Autograph Album
from Things To See In Springtime
If you live in the country, I can show you an old Woodcraft trick. Look for a hollow tree. Sometimes you can pick one out afar, by the dead top, and sometimes by noting a tree that had lost one of the biggest limbs years ago. In any case, basswoods, old oaks and chestnuts are apt to be hollow; while hickories and elms are seldom so, for once they yield to decay at all, they go down.
Remember that every hollow tree is a tenement house of the woods. It may be the home of a score of different families. Some of these, like Birds and Bats, are hard to observe, except at nesting time. But the fourfoots are easier to get at. For them, we will arrange a visitors' book at the foot of the tree, so that every little creature in fur will write his name, and some passing thought, as he comes to the tree.
Oh, it is simple; I have often done it. First clear and level the ground around the tree for three or four feet; then cover it with a coat of dust, ashes, or sand—whichever is easiest to get; rake and brush it smooth; then wait over one night.
Next morning—most quadrupeds are night-walkers—come back; and you will find that every creature on four feet that went to the tree tenement-house has left us its trail; that is its track or trace.
No two animals make the same trail, so that every Squirrel that climbed, every 'Coon or 'Possum, every Tree-mouse, and every Cottontail that went by, has clearly put himself on record without meaning to do so; and we who study Woodcraft can read the record, and tell just who passed by in the night.
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