Celebrating Spring - UPDATE March 20, 2021

Spanky DestructoSpanky Destructo

Spring officially started at 5:37 PM CDT, and that’s about the time that things started happening. Spanky finally decided to check out the microphone and then the camera as we watched worried that he’d go too far and destroy it. He mouthed the camera, tilted it down, and bit wires, making us worry about him getting a shock. We checked with Mauro. The camera is very low voltage and wouldn’t hurt him. Spanky then took a spring walk that has lasted over 3 hours. Spanky showed us the ultimate closeup as we held our breaths about what he was going to do to the camera. Here is a 5 minute video showing Spanky looking for trouble: https://youtu.be/k_491dLMxV0

Herring gullHerring gull Herring gull eyeGull eye Herring gull circlingCircling overhead

Also today, three herring gulls, the first I’ve seen this year, came by and showed they were old familiar ones that I should be able to recognize. Donna noticed them first and said 3 gulls were circling over. I went out and put bologna on the feeder roof. One of the gulls immediately responded by descending and landing on their observation tree. Another landed on the WRI roof. The one on the tree soon flew down for its share with me standing nearby. Then another did the same—and the other. I’m not sure who they were, and I don’t have my notes handy. The eyeball of the first had no spots on the iris and could be ‘Clear.’ Another might be ‘Six O’clock,’ but to be sure I’d have to match up the red and dark spots on their lower bills. It was good to see that they remembered the WRI.

WoodchuckWoodchuck Woodchuck eatingHaving a snack


Then a woodchuck that I had not seen this year did the familiar by coming up on the second floor deck to the pan of broccoli, strawberries, and sweet potatoes. It selected broccoli. It further showed its familiarity by going directly to the sunflower seed spot and digging in. Could this be the male’s mate that is holding him here? Has she (?) been snug in a den all this time? She then went down to eat stubs of green grass that are appearing.DeerDeer

Deer were eating the same thing where the snow has melted. Snow remains in shaded areas. Snow was melting fast at 55°F.

Common RedpollCommon RedpollOther new arrivals were 3 common redpolls that came for sunflower seed hearts. One of them tilted his head to make sure I knew he was a redpoll.

An excellent beginning of spring. The only worry is that we had only about half the usual snow in January and February, which means only half the water in the soil to produce good berries. Maybe rain will make up for that.

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