Foxes, Mink, Cards, and Happy Thanksgiving - UPDATE November 21, 2018

It was together time for the foxes and mink. Gray fox faceGray fox faceTwo gray foxes put their heads together under the corner of the deck where it was hard to see exactly what was happening. Eventually, one walked up the driveway and disappeared while the other kept looking up the driveway after it. Then the second one ran a couple hundred feet along the first one’s trail and then gave up and went off into the woods. Mink femaleMink femaleAn hour later, both were up on the railing eating sunflower seeds together for a first. Both were back later. A neighbor saw a pair mating, even though it is 4 months early for that according to the DNR page. It is interesting that the map shows no gray foxes in northeastern Minnesota, which has long been the case until the last 11 years.

Gray foxGray foxThe two mink were getting together, too. Not seeing either of them on the second floor deck, I took some bologna out and heard a scramble under the boards. I saw movement through the cracks and backed away, tossing a piece toward them and seeing it drop through a crack. Shortly there was a face above the boards where they have long had a small entry hole. The mink disappeared briefly and came up with the piece of bologna. It was the skittish female, so she hurried past me to go down the steps. To my surprise, the male then appeared from beneath the boards, too. He was calmer and immediately went to a piece of bologna I tossed to him. To eat it, he took it down under the first floor deck where the first one went.

That deck has a history. It’s where gray foxes raised pups a year or two ago.MinkMink

This evening, the calm fox was up on the second floor deck nicely lit by the deck light against the black of night. As he looked off into the darkness, I clicked a burst through the window. Somehow, he heard it and looked, giving me a nice look at his eyes.

Our designer did their usual bang-up job on the Christmas cards, and both are now in the online gift shop at

 Ted Holiday card Ted holiday card - photos © Jim StronerWe put peaceful, gentle Ted in a peaceful winter wonderland scene with the words, “Peace On Earth." It fits him perfectly. Inside is a subtle snowflake design with the words "Joy and love to you and yours" written on it with plenty of room for a personal message to your loved ones. Here it is at

The second card has all four bears (Ted, Lucky, Holly, and Tasha) front and center with Santa and his reindeer flying in front of a full moon. The cobalt night sky has beautiful northern lights in honor of the Northwoods skies these bears live under. Four bears holiday card4 bears holiday card - photos © Jim StronerGentle snowflakes float in the sky with "Merry Christmas" written out in stars. Inside the card is a soft design of distant trees with the greeting of "May your days be filled with magic and cheer!” Here that one is at

I believe both were ordered in limited quantities.

There probably won’t be an update tomorrow with Kelly and Colleen here with their families, so I want to say now how thankful you made me feel with your show of togetherness and care for the bears on GiveMN. The goal was to give the bears the best life we can, and that was what you wanted, too. Thank you.

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