Signs of Spring - UPDATE March 6, 2021

SpankySpanky heading out

Today, wild Spanky was again trekking to the edge of the porch to eat snow, as seen here: Ted was active, too, as is shown in this 4-minute music video .

Maybe responding to the same cues on this 44° F day, Tasha came almost out as is shown in this 6:52-minute video, and Lucky appeared at the entrance of his den to eat snow.

Woodchuck maleWoodchuck maleMore signs of spring were the woodchuck showing himself to be an old hand at the WRI. We knew the woodchucks last year liked pineapple and broccoli, so we put some out, and it all disappeared except for a piece of broccoli. Today, it disappeared, and I suspected that it was the male woodchuck that is living in heated quarters underneath the boiler shed. An hour later, he came up to the second floor deck, checked the spot where the broccoli had been, looked at me from just outside my window, and climbed up to the sunflower seed spot. I wanted to take a nice picture, but he ignored my noises and dug into the food, facing away. I want compare the one ID picture I got with pictures from last year, but he looks and acts familiar.

It turns out that red squirrels like pineapple, too, as Peggy proved with this picture.20210306 Red squirrel iwth pineappleRed squirrel with pineapple

Big action between the minks Guitar and Spot. Big Guitar was chasing little female Spot fast around the garage and up the driveway and out of sight. I believe he was eager to catch her and not chasing her away because just before they went around the curve in the driveway, he stopped and looked back for a moment before continuing his pursuit. If I was I wrong, I probably would not see Spot around for awhile, but two hours later, there she was nonchalantly walking past my window. When she found a piece of bologna, she did something I hadn’t seen of her before. She took it up the steps to the third floor deck where Guitar hangs out. I took that as a sign that she now feels more comfortable with him. Just now, the two visited the bologna area within minutes of each other.

The minks and other animals have their choice of three meats to choose from: bologna, tender pork rib meat, and thin-sliced beef. On this warm, spring-like day, the meat was thawed and easy to eat. The minks had a clear favorite. They ignored the pork and beef and wanted only bologna. A gray jay kept the rib meat from going to waste, carrying off piece after piece to glue to branches high in trees in the yard. Their special sticky saliva is the glue.

Gray jay with rib meatGray jay with rib meat Mink guitar hunting for bolognaMink guitar hunting for bologna Mink Spot also on the huntMink Spot also on the hunt

In this season of sleeping bears, I am thankful for Spanky showing on a second computer on my desk all day and I’m thankful for the richness of wildlife out the window and the dramas that take place through the seasons.

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