Many animals can be seen in Kaibab National Forest

Watchable wildlife

The diversity of wildlife found on the Kaibab National Forest provides unsurpassed enjoyment and aesthetic value for the photographer, bird watcher, nature lover, hiker, camper and hunter. The forest is home to a number of large animals, including mule deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and black bear. There are also a variety of smaller animals, reptiles and birds of many species.

The Kaibab squirrel, found only on the Kaibab Plateau, differs from its counterpart - the Abert squirrel - by having a dark body and white tail. Also living on the forest are wintering bald eagles, other raptors and several types of marsh birds. Wildlife habitat protection and improvement is an important goal of the overall resource management program on the forest.

The best season for viewing and photographing wildlife is from May 1-Nov. 1, when roads are accessible.

If you enjoy watching wildlife in their natural setting, you may benefit from the following tips:

• Fade into the woodwork. Wear natural colors and unscented lotions. Walk and talk softly. Crouch quietly behind a tree or a boulder. Try not to cast a shadow.

• Let animals be themselves. Don't try to "save" baby animals and birds. Mom is usually close by. Don't share your food with wildlife. They may get hooked on handouts or inadvertently bite you.

• Stick to the sidelines. Use binoculars or a zoom lens for viewing and photography. Stay away from nests. Your presence may draw a predator or frighten the parents into abandoning their young.

• Think like an animal. Imagine how the animal you are seeking spends its days. Take note of the season. Guess whether the animal may be looking for a mate, feathering its nest, fattening for winter or preparing to migrate. When does the animal feed, sleep or drink? Dusk and dawn are usually optimum times for wildlife viewing.

For more information, visit the Williams-Forest Service Visitor Center located at 200 W. Railroad Ave. in Williams.

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