Breakfast at the WRI - UPDATE February 10, 2024
When I come extra early to jot down overnight thoughts, I’m often distracted by the first faces to appear out of the darkness. Today it was a mink that was disappointed to find that the sudden cold had frozen the meat so tightly to the surface that it couldn’t bite it off.
Other times it is the big male fisher that takes everything, making me glad I’m here to put more out.
One morning, a chickadee was the breakfast winner making me wonder how close it had slept outside to be the first at the food.
As it got lighter, a seldom-seen redpoll appeared and held for a picture.
A couple days ago a raven repeatedly flew within a few feet of the pork pieces, each time veering off when it saw me sitting perfectly still. He at least had the courage to land behind a tree and become a peek-a-boo raven for a bit before showing me that I just look too dangerous and flying away.
This evening, I was glad to see the mink, that this morning had left empty-handed so to speak, find non-frozen pieces of pork I’d just put out. I like it that he is familiar enough with this place that he doesn’t bother to look in the window when he’s checking for food, something the shy new fox didn’t bother to do today either as he tried to grab the same frozen piece of meat the mink had tried. But then he noticed me and hurried away. We’ll see if he has a personality that can trust or can’t trust, just as we have seen with bears over the years.
But while the winter wildlife are coming for nutrients to help fight the cold, I can’t help thinking of Lily in an unknown den caring for cubs that are now probably two to four weeks old and growing hair that will help fight the cold as they become able to move about and explore their surroundings or when Lily has to leave them uncovered while she urinates and has to hear their protests.
I also think about the black bear courses that are filling up (14 spots still open) in preparation for the excitement of meeting bears, learning from them, and everyone sharing thoughts about experiences that most people would never think possible. It’s always fun to see participants who are coming back to be among participants who want to share their experiences or will be having their first experiences learning directly from the bears or getting pictures of things they don’t want to forget.
Thank you for all you do,
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center