First Bear!, Tasha at Home, and More - UPDATE April 27, 2020

The first bear I’ve seen here this year was a pleasant surprise—daughter of RC. First bear of 2020 - ChloeFirst bear of 2020 - ChloeShe arrived at 1:20pm today, a day and a half later than the first bear of last year which was a big male, who arrived at 12:55am on April 26, 2019. At 2 years of age, Chloe will likely be mating about a month from now. I hope we see her a lot, who she’s with, how she’s gaining weight, etc. I didn’t get a weight today, but one of these days…

TashaTashaYesterday Donna and I went to the Bear Center and were lucky to see Tasha in good view. I wanted to get a shot or two of her at home in tune with her surroundings and making the most of her self isolation. She didn’t disappoint. She moved up to her play area and played with a log. Then she was very intent on something unknown with a thoughtful look in her eyes. We were shooting through the viewing windows so as not to influence her. Then we went up on the balcony outside, thinking she would ignore anyone up there since she has seen so many there for so long. She turned and bolted to the cub tree where she feels secure. Why would a bear that was raised by a loving person and that has seen so many observers bolt from someone who is up on the observation area? Later she came back and looked for seeds under the bird feeder. I’ve said this before, but I am so happy to see these captive bears so connected to their forest and pond surroundings and not pacing or doing other repetitive, mindless things out of boredom. These bears act as much like wild bears as I think is possible in captivity, and they show the public a lot of how wild bears behave.Tasha profileTasha profile

Today, the ice on big Eagles Nest Lake One was melting with some days to go before it is gone. Donna was down by the dock cutting brush and noticed the first painted turtle we’ve seen this year. It had pulled itself mostly out of the water to enjoy some sun and was very lethargic—probably very cold in the icy water.

Out the window, ants are active and northern flickers are back to eat them as this one was probably doing. I had to look twice to see that it was a flicker because it is lighter and grayer than I’m used to. It’s a male with the distinguishing black mustache mark. We saw the first flicker for us yesterday.

The woodchuck we call the new male that arrived here on April 18 found a treat out the window by my desk—a piece of broccoli, and he ate it right there undisturbed by me moving around only a few feet inside the window. We call him the new male, but he is so comfortable that we must have seen him before. While he was here, the female was near her burrow out in front of the WRI and the young male was on the other side of the WRI.

Painted turtlePainted turtle GullGull

More and more gulls are returning, this distinctive—looking gull with his black marks on both the upper and lower beak is back doing his fantastic catching, leaping up if he has to or swooping his head low or off to the side—one of the best catchers.

Woodchuck new maleWoodchuck new male Northern Flicker maleNorthern Flicker male

Another good day of watching and writing when they let me.

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