BBC, Bears, Beavers, and Birds - UPDATE November 6, 2019

Last night my computer was tied up downloading a 1-hour documentary that the BBC aired a couple nights ago. 20191106 Pileated male20191106 Pileated maleIt is part of the Natural World Series called Meet the Bears and is about all 8 species of bears around the world. Much of the black bear part is of radio-collared study bears including Lily. They did a terrific job. No sensationalism. No people. Just natural history about how bears across the world have overcome the challenges of life.

Bear visits here might be over for this year. After I lamented about the lack of eyes in the night to record visits, snow came. Tracks showed the usual travel pattern of Scaredy. Then Mike and Lorie put up a trail cam to see why food disappears on the scale when there are no bear visits--deer. No bear visits last night. This is already late in the year, and I suspect they have called it a year.

Blue jayBlue jay Red breasted nuthatchRed-breasted nuthatch

Following up on the beaver activity of a couple days ago, I have never seen activity like that before, and their timing was perfect. They worked hard patching the top of the lodge with mud and wet vegetation from the bottom of the lake. It was their last chance, and they worked like they knew it. That night, cold swept in and froze their last part of the lake, likely preventing any more such activity for the rest of the winter. The mud and vegetation they put in place also froze, making a shell that any land animal would likely not be able to crack. I was a little worried before I saw them working because earlier that morning I think I saw three otters by the lodge but couldn’t be sure what they were from over a tenth of a mile away through dense snowfall. From their agility on land, I believe they were otters, and otters can kill beavers. So I was happy to see the three beavers working. I did wonder if the presence of otters stirred them to patch and shrink their air holes on top of the lodge.

Yesterday, I held out my hand with sunflower seed hearts and within five seconds a nice male red-breasted nuthatch accepted my invitation, followed immediately by a chickadee.

Beaver lodge  Beaver lodge Scaredy BearScaredy Bear tracks Deer at scaleDeer at scale


Intermittent sun today made bird colors glow, especially blue jays and the crest on the male pileated woodpecker. One would expect that of the blue jays because they don’t have blue pigment and their color comes from how their feathers reflect light.

The first shrike I’ve seen in years, an adult, perched in the sun right outside my window today. Their summer range is the boreal forest and tundra edge to the north. Here it is near the northern edge of its winter range.

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