Coniferous Forest Animals
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can
be judged by the way its animals are treated."
{short description of image} - Mahatma Gandhi




Though the Coniferous forests have fewer animal species than other forests, they are home to several different animals. Amphibians and reptiles are scarce, but birds, insects and mammals are common. Not many animals can live in this habitat year-round. Animals deal with the hardship of cold, long winters in several ways. Some of the animals hibernate during the winter; while others migrate to warmer climates. Of those that stay during winter, some die from starvation, frostbite and hypothermia. Below is a sampling of the animals found in the Coniferous forest along with some interesting facts about each.
 


Bald Eagle
Hear the Bald Eagle
Bald Eagles -Bald Eagle's build large stick nests (sometimes weighing over 1 ton) that are usually about 6 feet in diameter and over 6 feet tall! The Bald Eagle was listed as an "Endangered Species" throughout most of the United States. In 1995, the Bald Eagle's status was changed to "threatened" for the entire United States. It is slowly making a comeback!
 
Kermode Bear
Kermode Bear - Kermode is the special name given to black bears that have white claws and cream colored coats. Kermode bears are found only in a narrow stretch of land along the coast of British Columbia and on the Princess Royal Islands. Another name for Kermode Bear is "Spirit" Bear.
 
Eastern Milk Snake
Eastern Milk Snake - for this species of snake there is usually a "Y" or a "V" mark on the head and neck region. The Eastern Milk snake is also called Adder, House snake, and Barn snake. It received its name from the belief that it would actually milk cows!
 
Moose
Moose - Moose are the symbol of survival in the Northland. Moose hair is hollow. This makes it a great insulator against the northland's cold weather. Moose (Alces alces gigas) are the largest member of the deer family. An adult male can weigh up to 1600 pounds and stand six feet tall at the shoulder!
 
Tanager
Western Tanager - breeds in Alaska and winters in the tropics. The black and yellow wing bars separate the Western Tanager from other tanager species. The Western Tanager feeds on insects which it often catches on the wing. It will also eat fruit.
 
Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep
Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep - rather social in nature, rams usually leave the family unit in the Summer and rejoin in the Fall. The hooves are hard on the outside and soft on the inside making it an excellent climber and jumper. During the rutting season, males have butting contests where they may reach one another at speeds of 50-70 miles per hour and an estimated force of 2400 pounds!
 
Gyrfalcon
Gyrfalcon - the largest falcon in the world! Like the Peregrine, the Gyrfalcon lays its eggs on the bare rock of a cliff. The Gyrfalcon exhibits three color stages, referred to as - adult-gray morph, adult-white morph and adult-dark morph.
 
Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly - adult Monarchs warm up by basking dorsally (with their wings open and toward the sun). These butterflies make massive migrations from August to October, flying thousands of miles south to hibernate along the California coast and in central Mexico! Monarchs are poisonous to predators, secreting the poison from the milkweed nectar they eat.
 
Tassel-eared Squirrel
Tassel-eared Squirrel - tassle-eared squirrels, are essentially confined to Coniferous forests where Ponderosa pines are found. The presence of the squirrels is often betrayed by the litter of clipped twigs of Ponderosa pine on the ground under trees where the animals have been feeding. Often used as an "indicator species" - lots of these squirrels means a healthy forest!
 
Common Loon
Listen to the Loon
Common Loon - the ancestral roots of Common loons can be traced back over 100 million years! Common loons are best known for their almost violent mating dances and eerie wails. Since their webbed feet are located at the back of their bodies instead of underneath, Common loons are unable to walk on land or take-off from land!
 
Great Grey Owl
Listen
Call Shriek
Great Grey Owl - found from Alaska across Canada, down the Northen Rocky Mountains, and northern Minnesota. This owl is also found in northern Europe and the Soviet Union. The Great Grey feeds primarily on small rodents, which it catches in winter by diving through the snow! The Great Grey Owl has also been called Great Grey Ghost, Phantom of the north, and Spectral Owl.
 
Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger - It is estimated that only 360 to 406 Siberian Tigers still exist in the wild. The primary prey of the Siberian tiger is elk and wild boar. Siberian tigers are the largest of the tiger subspecies. The extra folds of skin on the belly of the Siberian Tiger allow it to be kicked by prey with less danger of injury.

Listen to a Siberian Tiger
Chuffle (greeting or contentment)
Growl ("This is my territory" or a male calling a female)
Roar (warning)
 
Reeve's Muntjac
Reeve's Muntjac - this is a tiny deer. It lives in southern Taiwan and China. All members of the genus make a barking sound when alarmed, and so are also called "barking deer." They eat grasses, leaves, and tender shoots.
 
Wood Frog
Listen to a Wood Frog
Woodfrog - Woodfrogs often lay their clutches of eggs in a central location of the pond forming huge rafts of eggs deposited below the surface of the water. Calls of the Woodfrog sound similar to quacking ducks or clucking chickens. During winter, Woodfrogs hibernate and produce high amounts of glucose (sugar) that protects their cells during freezing!
 
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