Smart Pileated, Blue-eyed Squirrel, Squirrel in Trouble, Interns - UPDATE February 21, 2018

Today a female pileated woodpecker landed in the 1.5 foot of fluffy snow and sunk in. Red SquirrelRed SquirrelShe knew we had a block of suet there, or used to. She immediately began sweeping her bill sideways throwing snow and widening her crater until she apparently realized the suet was not to be found and flew off. I’d never seen a pileated do that. It was a testimony to her memory and ability.

Pileated lookingPileated lookingAnother first. I’ve never noticed red squirrels to have anything other than dark eyes. Today, a blue-eyed one showed up right outside the window. Click.

Still another first—a sad one. I’ve heard of teeth growing and growing if there was nothing to oppose them in some rodents. Today, a poor red squirrel looked like it was having trouble chewing. No wonder. An incisor has grown into a half circle far outside its mouth.Red Squirrel with long toothRed Squirrel with long tooth

Judy Thon sent good news on the interns for this year. She wrote: “We have selected the finalists to participate in the 2018 NABC internship program. The number of applicants was FAR more than the positions available. We now have a waiting list for the 2019 program. Many applicants stated that this type of opportunity is hard to find. Once again we have international representation (UK) and from all over the USA as well. ( GA, MI, MN, TX, WI ) Pileated sweepingPileated sweepingA great mix of undergraduates and graduate students with staggered starting dates will help move the educational mission forward. All of these interns are interested in learning the true nature of black bears and sharing that with our visitors. We are excited to meet them all and have a successful 2018 season.”

Red Squirrel with blue eyeRed Squirrel with blue eyeI second the last sentence. It is great to meet these enthusiastic young people who want to learn more about bears and spread the good word to visitors. I look forward to having them visit the WRI to get additional experience.

Thank you for all you do.

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