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Snow, Bears, Birds, the Fox, and the Courses - UPDATE November 1, 2021

Visiting bearVisiting young male bearFalling snow and temperatures in the low 30’s did not deter two adolescent males who are the only bears still putting in appearances here. We seldom see bears in November but remember the glaring exception of Quill, the lone cub whose last appearance was at 12:07 AM on November 18, 2016. The bears today remained for about an hour and moved on. We’ll see how long that continues.

A surprising bit of action a couple days ago was a blue jay standing up to a same-size sharp-shinned hawk who swooped in for a kill on what looked like an easy target. The jay was peacefully eating sunflower seed hearts on the railing outside my window. Instead of fleeing, the jay lunged toward the hawk with wings spread, and the hawk flared off, landing four feet away. Sharp-shinned hawk 10-30-21Sharp-shinned hawk 10-30-21The jay went back to eating while the hawk watched. With its beak full of seeds, the jay flew off with the hawk suddenly in pursuit. The jay dodged around a tree trunk and escaped as is usual. I’ve never seen a capture. The jays dodge back and forth and escape into thick cover. The picture of the hapless hawk is not the best with half its head not showing, but it shows the squared tip of the tail that says ‘sharp-shin,’ the barred breast that says ‘adult,’ and the small size that says ‘male.’ Male sharp-shins are the smallest hawks in North America.

The red fox surprised me today. I had seen a beaver swimming and grabbed my camera. The fox followed briefly but quickly shifted his attention to nearby red squirrels. The photo shows him about to leap into a futile chase. With the wind like it was, it also shows how long his fur is.

Red foxRed fox stalking squirrel

The Black Bear Field Courses opened for registration today, making me look forward to the bear enthusiasts add so much to each year.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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