Ted, Holly, A New Visitor, and A Night Off - UPDATE November 18, 2018

At the Bear Center, someone caught a nice picture of Ted on his mountain of straw. Gray foxGray foxIt’s harder to catch as good of a picture of Holly because of the reflection of the camera tube in the protective plexiglass that keeps Holly from smearing the lens. Still, someone caught the best picture possible.

The new visitor today was a gray jay, the first one I’ve seen here for months. They are about the size of a blue jay but have a smaller bill and are shades of gray. Despite their drab feathers, they are a northwoods favorite. They have the ability and willingness to assess risks and benefits and learn to sit on a person’s hand once they learn to trust. TedTedThey are known for stealing food from campsites and have the nicknames Camp Robber and Whisky Jack. Blue jays are more shy. I like gray jays so much that I wrote a paper about them back in 2005 (Rogers, L. L. 2005. Weight-carrying ability and caching behavior of Gray Jays, Perisoreus canadensis: Adaptations to boreal winter. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 119(1):101-104). They have the memory to cache food and retrieve it. Living in the snowy boreal forest, the caches must be above snow level. They have sticky saliva for gluing food to branches. At wolf kills, they hold their own against larger avian competitors like ravens and crows by being able to carry surprisingly heavy loads in their feet, which brings the load closer to the center of lift. Gray jayGray jayI think the gray jay is the only passerine (a perching bird) that carries objects with its feet. If anyone knows different,.please let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Gray jays live mostly in Canada, so they are often called Canada Jays and have the scientific name Perisoreus canadensis.

Blue jayBlue jayWhen the fox sits on the railing so calm and beautiful, looking at me at my desk like that, I can’t help snapping a picture. It would seem a waste not to.

Heading home early for the big Thanksgathering Celebration this evening. It’s a musical feast, and I got a personal call from a man I cannot say no to. Ray Thielbar puts the whole thing together each year. Ray is also the man who made the beautiful carved signs that are all over the Bear Center. He was the Vice Chairman of the North American Bear Center board for nearly a decade. Besides that, Judy McClure is the pianist, and she took a month off from chemo to be able to play and to have a recital with her piano students. HollyHollyShe asked me to come, too. They know I always do. They play old hymns that old people know and can belt out. Donna is helping with the food for the fellowship afterward. It’s Ely’s biggest church event of the year. All the churches come together to make it a joint event. I’ll see people I haven’t seen for a long time.

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