Last Visit of the Year? - UPDATE October 15, 2020

Mary Lee on 10-13-20Mary Lee on 10-13-20Mary Lee, named after Mary Lee Dayton who, with her husband Wally, funded my early bear study here in Minnesota, visited two nights ago in the dark of night. That is usual for bears at this time of year, which is one reason bear hunting drops off a lot in the last month of the season. Then she skipped last night, and it’s looking like she will do the same tonight. Not sure yet, though. The camera will catch her if she comes overnight. Mary Lee is the 2-year-old daughter of Daisy, granddaughter of Bow, great granddaughter of RC, and great great granddaughter of 33-year-old Shadow.

Yesterday afternoon was the first dusting of snow with the temperature at 34°F. It was enough to wet this male dark-eyed junco as the snow quickly melted on contact.

More snow came overnight and was visible this morning at 31°F on the old beaver lodge across Woods Lake.

Dark-eyed Junco MaleDark-eyed Junco Male Beaver lodge at dawnBeaver lodge at dawn

Through the day, blue jays socially distanced as they competed for sunflower seed hearts.

Blue Jays

Not competing for the seeds was the first gray jay I’ve seen for months. They prefer suet, and it made trip after trip, going off and gluing bits to branches with its sticky saliva. They live in snow country, so they store food in trees rather than on the ground like red squirrels do. They burrow down to find them in winter.

Gray JayGray Jay Flying squirrelsFlying squirrels

The day ended with a nice pair of northern flying squirrels eating sunflower seed hearts side by side.

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