Office work kept us in today, but we sent Lorie and Becky out for another stab at homing in on Daisy’s collar with the telemetry. In theory, telemetry is simple. The collar transmits a signal, which you home in on with an antenna and receiver. You simply head in the direction of the strongest signal, right? Theoretically.
In reality, it takes time to get the hang of it. A strong signal can suddenly get weak as the terrain changes. Even a slipped collar lying in a den can seem to be moving and trick you into thinking it’s still on a bear. It takes experience and you only gain that experience by trying, failing, and trying again.
One of our Research Assistants, Lorie worked on her telemetry skills today and took Bear Educator Becky along for the experience. This time they succeeded! Collar retrieved.
Now we wait to see Daisy again to get a new collar on her—an adult collar with a GPS unit this time. As the daughter of uncollared Bow and granddaughter of uncollared RC, we hope Daisy will provide us with clues about Bow and RC’s territories as well.
GPS locations showed that Lily, Eli, and Ellie kept to their same small area about 0.4 mile from their den. This area is known to us from previous walks with bears. In 2007, June fed on big-toothed aspen buds and catkins there. Lily was a cub at the time and Sue watched in horror as all 3 cubs (Lily, Cal, and Bud) scampered up the aspen after June—with Lily in the lead. When the rough lower bark transitioned into smooth bark about 25 feet up, Lily lost her grip and fell to the ground. She stood up, looked around, and began climbing again.
Jewel, Fern, and Herbie have been on the move today in a remote area. The pattern of GPS locations indicates they may be foraging. It makes us want to join them to see what they may be finding—aspen catkins or buds, snowfleas?
Mothers with cubs typically use small areas while mothers with yearlings are more mobile. An exception was Lily with Hope and Faith. She traveled more than we would have expected with a cub. Her movements were more like a mother with a yearling—which of course Hope was. But Faith fared just fine. We’re hoping to catch up to Faith soon to change her collar.
We mentioned that the winter flock of chickadees had mostly left and only 2 are still coming for birdseed. A Lily Fan a couple hundred miles south of here said that a pair of chickadees there were building a nest and had become suddenly territorial. That makes us suspect that chickadees flock up at feeders in winter but disperse to their territories for nesting unless somebody knows better.
Lily's FUNdraising Group raised $1,692.00 with their ‘Leaving The Den’ fundraiser last Saturday. This group really knows how to put the FUN in fundraising! Very impressive—thank you!
We are very thankful for all the volunteers. It has always been a dream to spread the good word about bears. Now it’s a group effort with over 200 volunteers helping in so many ways.
Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
All photos taken today unless otherwise noted.