Bears and Birds - UPDATE September 29, 2018

As we approach the end of September we have the comfort of knowing that many of the pregnant females are safe in dens. Yellow rumped warblerYellow-rumped warblerWe needed that comfort today when we heard a rifle shot and learned from neighbors that a bear was taken that was larger than those taken earlier. I’m told the hunter brought the bear out covered up so no one could see which bear it is, so residents are watching to see what bear comes up missing. However, at this time of year, a bear not showing up could also mean the bear decided to call it a year and den up. So we’re left waiting to see which bear doesn’t show up next year.

Dark-eyed juncoDark-eyed juncoOut the window, snowflakes were in the air yesterday, following a day of hail. Fittingly, I saw my first snowbird today, another name for the dark-eyed junco that shows up when snow is coming in fall and snow is melting in spring. Yellow-rumped warblers are everywhere as they migrate through. Here, this bird that includes fruit in its diet in addition to the usual insects, wasn’t finding insects with temperatures in the 30’s F. The prize food was scattered dates that bears somehow missed. Yellow-rumped warblerYellow-rumped warblerThese colorful warblers of summer are part of a group some of the bird books call “confusing fall warblers" because in their more drab fall plumage several species take close looks to distinguish among them.

The unsettling rifle shot of today could very well be the last in this area for this year.

Thank you for all you do.

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