The call I’ve been waiting for came today—23 days earlier than her first spotting last year on May 26. I hurried to the spot where she was up a red pine and looking good—still climbing trees at 34 years of age. She came through the winter looking well nourished. She is quickly recognized by the well-earned white hairs that cover her forehead. And they are spreading, as can be seen on her forearm and paw in the close-up picture and on more of her body in the full-body picture. She is the second oldest black bear on record—captive or wild. She had her last cub, Spanky, at the age of 28, which set a record for the oldest black bear to give birth on record. She narrowly missed seeing 6-year-old Spanky today. His picture is from four days ago.
A startling sight outside the window today was of a female red-bellied woodpecker about 100 miles north of its usual range. We did see one other here, a female, on May 22, 2003.
Herbie, the 9-year-old son of Jewel who we watched being born on January 22, 2012, stopped by to show us what he has been off eating—mostly grass and perhaps other green vegetation, as we saw Lucky also eating at the Bear Center recently. Green-up is starting. Some aspens now have small leaves. Small plants will be coming up throughout the woods soon.
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