Progress - UPDATE January 7, 2015

Ecology Hall at the NABCEcology Hall at the NABCThis was a day of meetings about the Northwoods Ecology Hall and seeing the beginning of habitat construction there. The habitat is designed to accommodate dozens of the taxidermy animals Lily Fans donated. Today, the habitat creators made the beginnings of a rock outcrop.

In this 100-second flashback to April 15, 2007, June has led Lily, Cal, and Bud on their first walk away from the den where they were born some 3 months earlier. June took them 50 yards to a patch of willow bushes where the cubs climbed high in a spruce tree to rest and play while June demonstrated to Sue how bears gather willow catkins

Holly in her den - Jan. 6, 2015Holly in her den - Jan. 6, 2015Ingesting willow catkins is not like picking berries with sensitive, dextrous lips. It is not like stripping leaves by pulling a branch sideways through the mouth. The catkins are harder to pull off a branch than berries would be, and they wouldn’t strip sideways through the diastema as easily as leaves do. To remove willow catlins (pussy willows) from a branch, bears strip them through their incisors. The right tool for the right job.

Willow catkins are one of the earliest bear foods along with snow fleas. Often there is snow on the ground when they eat either of these foods.

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

All photos taken today unless otherwise noted.