Now that Katie is gone, Kota is beginning to take over her duties.
Spring is a busy time in the wildlife field. We have been busy starting surveys, creating documents, and of course cutting grass. Our office is located within a small park, and cutting grass is a never ending job. Kota tries to help, whether it is digging holes for replacement fence posts, making sure there are no field mice returning to the grass behind the person with the weed trimmer, or putting the deck on the riding mower. Today we started waterfowl surveys. This is where we walk around and through wetlands to flush up the waterfowl to count. Counts are used for creating hunting limits and assessing habitat quality, the more waterfowl, the better. Kota did a great job! At first he was unsure what I wanted him to do, but soon caught on. When we first arrived at the first marshy area we didn’t see many waterfowl. I instructed Kota to begin flushing – he ran through the water and cattails like a crazy dog, making huge circles back to me. It didn’t take long before the waterfowl emerged. Our helpers were on the shore identifying the birds that flushed from Kota’s erratic running. My job today was to keep Kota focused in the right areas.
Kota also learned to swim today. He was trying to stay in the shallow water, but in the excitement got himself out in deeper water. At first he panicked, but soon figured out how to move his legs in the deeper water. From that point on, it didn’t matter where the running lead – he was having so much fun while doing his job!
Kota is being trained to located mountain lion scent. We are getting calls to do this across the state, so I am hoping he catches on quickly! His job will be to point out mountain lion trails, scat, and scent posts, not to chase them or tree them. This will help our office to locate mountain lion trails so that we can monitor areas for lions. Already he is following in Katie’s footsteps and is picking out coyote sign, so I might cross train him for that too. There is so much for him to learn!