The New Year - UPDATE December 30, 2018

With 2018 about to end, I’m feeling thankful for all you’ve done this past year by becoming part of our mission to keep learning and educating about bears. It takes a village.Mink StripeMink w/stripe

I’m also looking forward to 2019 and seeing and meeting many of you at the Bear Center or at a Black Bear Field Course. Events at the Bear Center include the opening of the new children’s Cub Room that you made happen and the annual Lilypad Picnic (July 18-21). I’m especially looking forward to the Black Bear Field Courses with both Lily and Ursula having new cubs.

Out the window, with temperatures in the teens (F), a mink was back. It was the one I call Stripe because of the lines of brown fur through the white chin patch. It climbed up where it could see me and went through what has become a familiar routine. It kept looking at me as I snapped a picture. I wondered if it was really about me or did it just do that. I found out when I got up. It immediately ran to the door, stood up, and looked in. It seemed to know what I was doing as I picked up the package of bologna. There were three pieces left. I opened the door and gave it a half dried out piece. It matter of factly stood up and took it and ran down the stairs and under the first floor deck. It must have just dropped the piece because it immediately came back up. Had it seen the other two pieces? One of the pieces was mostly dried out and the other one was fresh. I held both of them in my hand to see which one it would pick. They overlapped about an inch, and that is where the mink bit to get both of them. Was that an accident? Then it disappeared under the deck, and I didn’t see it again.

Blue Jay
Flick to the right
Blue Jay
...flick to the left
Blue Jay
...grab the seed!

Blue jays were impressive. Five of them were using their bills to methodically flick the snow to one side and the other, then dig down to where they had eaten sunflower seed hearts yesterday before a couple inches of snow fell overnight. I was surprised how much snow they made fly with each flick of the bill. With the hole dug, one jay or another plunged its head deep into its hole to grab a seed.

Pine SiskinPine siskinA pine siskin also was doing okay coming up with seeds where I didn’t see any from my angle of view.

Then I ruined the whole show by throwing out lots of seed over a big area of snow to make it easy.

Probably no update tomorrow night with festivities afoot.

Thank you for all you do, and Happy New Year! I look forward to seeing many of you in 2019

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