Mild Winter Leads to Early Wildlife Sightings in Town
In addition to a moose sighting last week, it seems many critters are coming out of the woodwork.
While the photo of the moose spotted in Crooked Spring Reservation last week is making headlines, it's not the only animal making its way out of the woodwork.
Town conservation agent Thaddeus J. Soulé said a moose, while not common, is certainly a normal animal to live in the New England area and can even live as far south as Connecticut.
"What usually keeps them in check is a large deer population, moose and deer tend not to share the same areas too well," he said.
In yesterday's police log, residents reported seeing a dead deer, two opposums, a beaver in the street and a bobcat.
Soule said it might have something to do with the mild winter.
"Last year, there were chipmunks everywhere," said Soule, who said with more oak trees and more acorns, there were more chipmunks. "Wildlife prevalence is determined by natural cycles and avialablity of food and seasonal temperatures."
Because last winter was warm and mild, Soule said, species could be emerging earlier. He also said many animals who may not normally survive the winter have survived this one.
"A lot of animals don't make it because there's not enough food but with a mild winter, more species are coming out and they're more competitive for the same space, so they'll push human boundaries," said Soule. " ... I wouldn't be surprised if we have more sightings throughout the summer."
In addition to the moose sighting, Soule said he has also heard of animals such as coyote,s possums, porcupines, beavers and woodchucks in the area. Turkeys have also been more prevalent due to the mild winter, he said.
"A mild winter is good for turkeys, they love nuts and berries, it makes for happy and healthy turkeys," he said.
Soule said residents shouldn't be concerned or fearful about the wildlife.
"People should celebrate that Chelmsford has enough conservation and open space land that it makes wildlife observable and it's part of our community's fabric," he said. "No need for fear. Get outside and check it out and enjoy it."