Officially Winter - UPDATE December 21, 2019

On this first day of winter (37°F), it was peace on earth and good will to mice at the Bear Center as Happycub captured the picture below of a deer mouse resting next to Ted. Deer buck and fawnDeer buck and fawn

At the Wildlife Research Institute, the talk in the neighborhood is big antlers being dropped and younger deer still keeping their smaller racks. Out the window, I was surprised to see a fawn confidently come up to this young buck and touch noses. The picture that is partly cut off of the buck out the window shows a look of intense interest, I’d say.Young buckYoung buck

I’ve been light on updates lately in this time of writing with less to report about bears. We are worried about the total lack of sightings of minks and foxes lately. The birds and deer and squirrels are a delight.

ChickadeeChickadeeAn item I wrote lately was a Den Cam Permit Application I sent to the DNR a week ago. Haven’t heard anything yet. We’d like to put a camera in the den of Lily and her four cubs so we can all see how the bears interact and play when a person would think they would be conserving energy. The fact that yearlings play in dens is an indication of how important play is to bears, I believe. Play among small cubs is not surprising because they are not hibernating and are drinking milk and growing, but I was surprised to see play among Jewel’s yearlings back in 2013.

Ted with mouseTed with mouseProfessor Gordon Burghardt, perhaps the world’s leading authority on animal play, is senior-authoring our paper on the development of play among small cubs in dens. We’d like to add information on play among yearlings in dens to that paper or a separate paper.

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