Tasha, Holly, Chipmunk, Turkey - UPDATE April 2, 2021

TashaTashaTasha is up and at ‘em with vigor, and Holly is coming on strong—albeit pestering Tasha as "Taught" caught in this 2½-minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bob0kxGSo5w.

Yesterday, the first chipmunk of the year appeared. It was an Eastern Chipmunk that has become by far the most common chipmunk around here. I haven’t seen a Least Chipmunk in years, and they used to be as common as Easterns.

Eastern ChipmunkEastern ChipmunkToday, a big surprise was a turkey in the yard—only the third in my 29 years here—all in April. The first was on April 28, 2012, the second on April 12, 2020, and the third today. Bears get credit for these sightings. But first some background. Turkey numbers dwindled to close to nothing in the century leading up to the 1930’s. They were over-hunted, and their habitat was changed by farming and by removal of 10 million acres of trees according to the U. S. Forest Service. Then, restoration of turkeys began in the 1930’s. As part of that, the State of Minnesota traded bears from northeastern Minnesota for turkeys from Arkansas. Minnesota traded various game birds for turkeys from other states and released some 5,000 Eastern Wild Turkeys in Minnesota overall. They grew to some 30,000 turkeys today, surviving cold winters even here in northeastern Minnesota. As a result, the occasional turkey comes through the yard. Minnesota is now known for its turkeys. It is a wildlife success story that occasionally enlivens days here at the WRI. Today, the turkey fearlessly foraged surrounded by 3 deer only a few yards away but was very wary of me much farther away. I finally was able to take this picture when it appeared in the yard outside my desk window. They truly are WILD turkeys as their name implies

Eastern Wild TurkeyEastern Wild Turkey Red SquirrelRed Squirrel

Still waiting for the first bear here. This first sighting here last year was on April 27—2-year-old Chloe, daughter of RC.

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