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A Closer Bear and Two New Faces - UPDATE April 15, 2024

Moose seen from WRI

Last evening at 9 PM, a neighbor got to see a bear less than half a mile away from here. That made me put bear food out here this morning in addition to the usual fare for the others, but while I haplessly kept an eye out for the bear, two new faces showed up.

Turkey VultureTurkey vulture

The first turkey vulture of my year sailed in and landed in the best place possible for a picture—a sunny spot less than 50 feet away from my window on the nearest branch of the big white pine. He was so close I could see details in his face. When he eventually took flight, he showed a wingspan that is only a foot less than a bald eagle’s even though a vulture weighs only four pounds, compared to about 9 1/2 for a bald eagle. With all that wing surface, vultures are definitely built for gliding on thermals as they smell their way to food. This one was apparently drawn to the meat I had out for the fishers, foxes, and mink. The turkey vulture was a good enough sighting to make my day, but something bigger was afoot.

 Turkey Vulture  Turkey Vulture

Late this afternoon, crossing the bog on the other side of the lake was the first moose I’ve seen here in a year and a half. The picture shows a lot of fur loss from his shoulder area, probably due to thousands of winter ticks (Dermacentor albipictus) sucking his blood all winter long causing a lot of blood and hair loss.

It was another good day of being distracted from work by the flow of sightings out the window, including a helpless need to grab binoculars to see what kinds of ducks are on the lake and what the beaver was up to when he appeared around 7 PM.

I’m thankful for all you do and all that the birds and animals do, too.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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