The snow started here last evening about 6 PM and it is still snowing so hard the other shore of Woods Lake out the window is hard to see less than 200 yards away. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5abuhjH-CtUAt the Bear Center, Ted snoozed without a care about the snow on his head. He had breakfast as usual today with snow on his back. Their thick winter fur protects them from a lot. Lucky and Holly had some gentle play until Holly said “Enough” and retreated into their bunker den.
Out the window, snow is making foraging for wild foods difficult. Crows are eating suet. Chickadees and others are eating seeds from their special feeder that doesn’t have a squirrel in the way today. The mink trekked through snow to the door for a treat that included a mouse from home. I worried about the mink named Stripe last night after seeing her being chased by Clear deep into the woods yesterday before the storm hit. Today, Clear saw her again and leaped into the snow from a 4-foot elevation to chase her far again. Matings were reported for other minks in the area.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XosBCZcyUL8. Someone asked if the little family might hang close and re-enter the den if the weather turned bad. Hard to tell. Mothers with cubs often stay close to the den and go in and out for a while; but just as often they move directly to a big refuge tree and make that their new safe home until the cub(s) become more mobile. By the time food becomes available with spring green-up, the cub(s) are more ready to travel. Around Ely, green-up gets into full swing in the second week of May. Cubs continue to ingest mainly milk through May. Meanwhile, the mother forages heavily on new greens that pop up on the forest floor and leaf out on shrubs. To forage for these and insects, mothers often leave their cubs at the base of a tree with rough, strong bark that is good for fast, safe climbing should they need to escape a predator. Their screams bring mom running, usually from close by, but I’ve found mothers as far as two miles away.In Pennsylvania, the mom and cub left last evening at 7:59:53 according to this 16:44-minute video
In my early years, it was easy to answer questions until I learned how variable they are due to learning and personality.
Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA