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While Bears Are Giving Birth Out of Sight, Other Wildlife Appears Here - UPDATE January 22, 2024

Lily and Hope in the den in 2010

On this anniversary of Lily giving birth to Hope in 2010, my thoughts are about Lily and other bears I hope to again be able to study as we did together in that wonderful time that I consider the pinnacle of my career.

Coyote diggingCoyoteMeanwhile, it is other animals that are active here. Today, the first excitement was seeing the coyote digging in the snow between the roots of a tree. I eased open the door and clicked a picture when he or she had its head in the hole. I stood perfectly still with the camera braced, hoping not to be noticed some 50 feet away up in the second floor doorway. After being out of contact with its surroundings as it dug, it stopped and looked in all directions, watching and listening. Coyote diggingCoyote digsThen I saw his eyes lock on me. I clicked again, but rather than focus on me, it continued to look and listen in all directions and walk away. An hour and a half later he was back wary as ever. Through the window, I saw him focus in various directions as before, start toward the digging site several times, and finally just walk over to the driveway and disappear up over the hill.

MinkMinkMore excitement followed. The mink that I think is spending a lot of time in the garage and under the front deck of the cabin was out and actively digging into the snow just 20 feet from the WRI cabin. He or probably a she from her size investigated several areas, disappearing for a few minutes. Then, she was suddenly back and running up the stairs to the food on the second floor deck. I haven’t seen a mink do that for over a year. She apparently has been quietly learning the program. Her timing was right on. There was an unusual bonanza to be had today, and she took full advantage. Over and over, she found a piece of meat to her liking, ran down the steps to stash it under the deck and within seconds was running up for another piece and another for a total of over 20 trips in about 29 minutes. As she hurried about, I tried to see and photograph the shape of the white patches on her chin, throat, and chest to see if this was a mink returning from the past or just now learning. The closest I came to seeing her patch was in a single picture of her passing by. Otherwise she kept the shape of her patch a secret. I suspect she’ll be back a lot once she depletes the major stash she put under the front deck.

MinkMink runs to stash meat

The fox was here for an hour last evening eating and burying pieces of meat until "Eyes of the Night" spied the reason for his wariness. Another fox. Shortly, she saw one of them racing away faster than she’d ever seen anything run. Then the other fox came by running almost as fast but it was too dark at 8:45 PM to see which fox was doing the chasing.

Later, the female fisher put in her appearance to complete this day of action.

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

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