Where Do They Go? What Wildlife Is Up to During the Winter


Not every creature hibernates. Believe it or not, some East Bay wildlife become even more active and visible when the winter chill settles in. That is usually because their seasonal mating and reproductive cycles occur only in the winter and fall.

In the winter, salamanders and newts start their yearly reproductive trek for suitable ponds and suitable mates. Western toads and tree frogs can also be seen in the winter on their quest to find breeding pools and a safe place to lay their eggs.

Thousands of ducks, geese, and shorebirds can be seen while making pit stops on their way south, eating their way through the East Bay’s smorgasbord of invertebrates, fish, and seasonal seeds and sprouting plants.

But land isn’t the only place you can see wildlife in the colder months. Steelhead and salmon swim high up local creeks to gravel beds that provide the ideal spot for eggs to hatch and grow during the winter rainy season.

Some local wildlife do hibernate. Some lizards and snakes, for instance, find a secure place to winter, and ground squirrels sleep away much of the winter in burrows.

Truth is most local wildlife are still active in winter, even raccoons, coyotes, and mountain lions. It’s mostly us humans that are less active in the winter, and less likely to see them.

Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor
(510) 544-2217