A dream come true!

A dream come true!

Update February 25, 2010 – 7:18 PM CST

Doug Hajicek and his co-worker Joe Frascella put a lot of time into getting the right microphone and making sure it worked.  A company they often do business with, Cinequipt, loaned this $5,000 microphone for the next couple months.  We hope it survives.  It’s encased in a PVC pipe for protection.

I headed for the den while Sue stayed back at the garage making sure the cable fed out nicely as I pulled it through the woods.  I hoped Lily would recognize my voice and be calm.  I felt rewarded to see how she behaved.  She wasn’t nervous, and the cub didn’t sound disturbed at all.  Lily just looked up expectantly, knowing it was me.

When I arrived, I saw the camera tube mostly buried in snow, which meant I couldn’t attach this mic to it.  All I could do was lay the mic on the snow and tie off the cable so the mic wouldn’t slide into the den.

I tried to distract Lily with food, hoping she wouldn’t pay much attention to the mic and want to investigate it.  She stretched up and sniffed the grape in my fingers, but she wasn’t interested.  I thought she would like grapes for the moisture, considering how much snow she has been eating lately.  When we got back to the Research Center we saw Facebook posts saying Lily ate them shortly after I left the den area.

Your Facebook posts are what made us go back out the final time today.  After our second attempt, we came back to find a Facebook post saying the last couple “testing” words were crystal clear.  We aren’t sure what worked the third time; we’re just glad it did!  We’re impressed with the quality of sound we’re getting—this is recordable sound that might help us learn more about vocalizations.  I’m excited by how things finally worked out after thinking we were defeated earlier today.

I couldn’t see the cub in the darkness of the den.  It just looked black in the den except when Lily lifted her head for the grapes a couple times.  When I got back and turned on the den cam, I realized how much the infrared light helps.  I had taken a camera with me but I forgot to take a picture.

As I left, I checked for tracks to see what had Lily so alert a few nights ago.  I found a set of big deer tracks that looked to have been made about then.  They passed 10 feet from the den and led to a bed 25 feet away in the direction Lily was looking that night— straight away from the den entrance.

Thank you so much for the shower of donations.  I know how you all feel.  We love your comments.  They show we are all feeling the same things.

And things are getting even better.   Listening to the sounds and watching the cub, Sue and I thought we saw her blink.  And you guys don’t miss a thing.  We looked at Facebook and many were commenting about the same thing, so we knew we weren’t just seeing things.  They say the eyes open at 6 weeks, but that’s approximate.  It’s a slow process.  We think this could be the first slit.  We’ll see how long it is until the eyes are fully open.

—Lynn Rogers, Biologist, North American Bear Center