More Bears, Big Wings, and More - UPDATE April 29, 2020

I got a good call about another bear in the area—Herbie!—the bear many of you remember being born to Jewel in 2012. Now 8, CarolynCarolynhe was very welcome to the resident who called.

A few miles away, another bear made another resident very happy this afternoon. It was 3-year-old Carolyn, daughter of now 20-year-old Donna, with 3 cute cubs.Carolyns 3 cubsCarolyn's 3 cubs

Speaking of bears, inquiring minds want to know: Is Lily still alive, and what about Faith? It’s a ‘yes’ on Lily (now 13) and a ‘don’t know’ on Faith. Lily was last seen on a trail cam at a den with all four cubs (Marie, Kaiya, Dell, and Leroy) on October 22. That was after hunting season and she looked in fine shape. I applied for a den cam permit so we could learn a bit about play with her cubs and broaden a scientific paper Gordon is writing on bear play in dens, but no go. Maybe this coming winter.

Faith (born to Lily in 2011) is a question. Before we removed the radio collars in the summer of 2014, we learned that Faith had moved a few miles away and seemed to have a territory in an area with few roads. We saw her back in her old area as a 4-year-old with 2 male cubs in 2015 and again in 2016. Then nothing. The fact that she moved to an area with few roads should have helped her survival, but the fact that it’s been this long without seeing her makes us worry. We miss seeing her and wish we’d been able to follow her life and her relationship with Lily.

On Woods Lake, the loon has moved on to bigger water that is now opening up. It’s time for loons to find their old mates and start new families.

Turkey vulture closeTurkey vulture close Turkey vultureTurkey vulture Deer eatingDeer eating

 

Out the window, big wings passed by a couple days ago and perched in a tree. It was a turkey vulture. I slowly sneaked a shot of it perched in the sun, but it was too wary. It flew off.

We don’t usually see turkey vultures in that close. They are among the wariest birds here, along with eagles and ravens. All three probably have to be like that, living to a large extent on carrion killed by predators that could also kill them. Crows are wary, too, but they come closer than the other three. I’m amazed, though, that ravens and crows can be so tame in Ely. There, they have learned that ways of people and traffic and let people come within 20 feet at times. Crows learn the ways of traffic on the highway and calmly walk to the shoulder and let cars whiz by only 4 or 5 feet away and immediately walk back to the road kill they had found. Turkey vultures sometimes feed on deer carcasses 10 feet off the highway with varying wariness about vehicles.

There’s not much snow to be seen now. The open area near the WRI is turning green. Clipping grass is the major occupation of deer now in the week or two before the big variety of tender young leafy plants emerge across the forest floor. Temperatures in the mid to high 60’s are forecast for this weekend.

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

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