To enjoy wildlife at Oakwood, all you have to do is keep your eyes open, and be as delighted by the everyday wonders as by the rarities. The cemetery’s varied habitat, which encompasses open fields, streams, ponds, woods and steep hillsides, supports a diverse and abundant array of creatures and provides them with some protection from human intrusion.
Foxes, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, rabbits, sometimes muskrats and an occasional coyote might be seen by daylight. Many of Oakwood’s other mammals are nocturnal, so are rarely seen, but visitors have an opportunity to cross paths with them by way of their tracks in winter. After a snowfall, walkers in Oakwood often see tracks of opossum, skunk, raccoons and porcupines, and the tiny tracks of mice, moles, and voles.
All of the mammal inhabitants of the cemetery are year-round residents and can be seen as well in winter as in spring or summer. The deer number possibly a couple of dozen, and can be best seen in the morning or evening, usually in groups of four, five, or six does with their fawns at different stages of growth. The bucks are shyer and stay apart from the groups of does, but can be seen occasionally, often two at a time. During a snowy winter, the twigs and branches of small trees and shrubs show extensive evidence of the browsing that allows the deer to survive when the snow is too deep for them to graze.
Foxes drop their pups, or kits, in March or April, deer give birth to fawns in May or early June, and other mammalian babies may be spotted in late spring and early summer. The cemetery is also home to frogs, toads, salamanders, fish, painted and snapping turtles, butterflies and more than 70 species of birds.