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And those are so fresh they were only in there for 5 min when i took the picture.
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Every year you hear them, deep into the night, Waking your sleep with their calls. Not long lost dinosaurs emerging from the underground, Or weird techno music emanating from the living room. I'm Taking about the Mating calls of the snow plows. the odd scraping bellowing call form the streets as they push the snow aside, Clearing paths for their mates, the sanding trucks.

Usually starting around november, december you hear them, This year has been a sad year for them, food has not been plentiful, but they still exist, not wiped out yet by the lack of snow. They moved through the street, calling out their mates, ready to dance for them in the streets.

The males of the species has bright yellow plumage, his feet are black in colour, his bill is a silvery grey. Often there is also a flashing feather on top of the head. Depending on how long they have been dancing for, depends on how bright the plumage is. They dance from dusk till down, Usually making way then for the mouse like cars that dominate the streets in the day light. So a purely nocturnal animal.

The females tend to blend in a little better to the snow they so favor, white in colour. With brush like feathers on their rumps to spread dirt hidden under the snow. They also follow their mates around watching them dance with the snow, clearing the streets for their passage. This continues for days until the female submits to the male breeding with her. Little in known on the actual mating, As they hide themselves very well while preforming this.

The actual call sounds like a haunted dinosaur echoing throughout the streets. a long and mournful one, mixed with the scraping sounds of it's bill moving the snow aside. Most of the time, you hear the calls of just one. They do pair up, which creates an even odder more loud and haunting sound that can chill you to the bone. When one tries to capture the sound of this call, it comes through garbled, so no clear sound has been recorded to date.

Snowplows and Sand trucks do not mate for life. Often the Male finds he has a pack of females waiting for him at the beginning of every season, the best one gets to mate with him, the lesser females have to find other mates before the end of the season. Often older snow plows, find themselves with the lesser females of the packs.

The babies of thee snowplows and sand trucks are called Bobcats. The little ones that look like a mix of the 2, often featuring mottled colours of both white and yellow. They sport little black bills, black feet, and with a little lighted feather on top of their heads as well. their true colours show through when they go through their last molt. it is nearly impossible unless taking a blood sample to find out if they are male or female.

Often you find the babies on the sidewalks, mocking their parents motions with plowing the sidewalks. Being a bit more versatile, they often gather the snow up in piles and use these as slides. You will also find that bobcats don't have a set time of day they come out and play at. They generally, like most children, have energy to burn. This gets them into trouble quite frequently as humans come along and trap them, pulling them onto trailers to haul off to other areas to use them until they grow to large to feed and house, then set them free to plow the streets.

although often seen as cruel, this relocation of the bobcats ensures a versatile gene pool for the snowplows and sanding trucks. If they stayed in one area too long, they have the potential to become extremely inbred. This is when odd mutations show up, usually never for the good.

so in conclusion to this report, the mating calls of the snowplows are part of our winter nights. A call that we can not live with, yet can not live without. for if we did, We would be locked in with no snow removal, our lives are a little better for having these massive creatures and their off spring around. Please, Think of the Snowplow, the Sanding truck, and the Bobcats next time you mutter about the mating calls waking you up at night.

June 2012

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