Katie’s Sightings

By Katie O’Hara Kelly

Neighborhood News!

Black Bear – Ursus americanus

On one of my morning wanders this week, I ran into my friends Jack and Linda on the road. They had JUST photographed a Black Bear in our neighborhood! So, naturally I hot-footed it to the location where they had seen it, and luckily it was still there! Yahoo! I didn’t want to disturb the bear, so I kept my distance, and zoomed in with my camera. It was foraging in a small grassy area, mainly eating clover! It didn’t appear to be much interested in me, and only looked at me from time to time while it foraged! It was a medium-sized, very healthy looking bear! After just a few minutes I left the bear to himself. I very rarely see Black Bears during the day. What a thrill it was to watch this one foraging on plants!

Black Bears average 3′-3’5” in height, 4’6″-6’2″ in length, and 203 lbs. – 587 lbs. in weight. Despite their large size, they are not usually predators. They mainly eat insects, grubs, fruit, berries, twigs, bugs, leaves, nuts, roots, the cambium layer of trees, honey, and fish. Occasionally they will eat small to medium-sized mammals and carrion. They are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), but can be seen at any time of the day. Their range is typically 8-10 square miles, and occasionally up to 15 square miles. Males and females are solitary except briefly during mating. However, offspring will stay with their mother for up to 17 months. I wonder if the three cubs I saw last September, are still with their mother. Maybe this bear is one of those cubs!

Migratory Birds

Lots of birds have recently arrived in our neighborhood. Some, like the Anna’s Hummingbird pictured above are short-distance migrants. Others are long distance migrants. Some will nest in our neighborhood, while others are just passing through. I don’t have time this week to write about each one. I’ll right more as the nesting season progresses. In the meantime, here’s photos of the ones that arrived in the past two weeks. Enjoy!

Black-headed Grosbeak (female-male) – Pheucticus melanocephalus
Violet-green Swallow (females) – Tachycineta talassina
Bullock’s Oriole (male – female) – Icterus bullockii

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