Readers of "NATURE NOTES" who have been on our list for a year or more will probably recall that during the past two years the bears of the Park awakened from their winter's sleep at early dates. In both cases bruin's presence was noted in February. However, this year, when the region is experiencing a winter which will be retained long in our memories, he exhibits a degree of canny judgement which seems to be all in his favor. In other words, as yet, no bear has been reported. They are all remaining within the confines of the hollow tree or similar shelter where they hibernated last fall. At times, winter seems to be suffering from a relapse; a warm sun beams upon the great snow drifts and the rivers rumble with the waters of melting snow but apparently there is still plenty of "power" in the "old boy" yet. Consequently, we are anxiously -- and timorously -- awaiting the first report of a bear being out and around again.
Through the efforts of Field Naturalist Russell, the Park Museum has been favored by an extensive collection of Indian baskets, descriptive of the work of local Indians. Two boxes of such material recently arrived from Berkeley, California. These will be displayed in cases in our Longmire Museum and in a similar place in the Community Building at Paradise Valley.
Birds seem remarkably among the missing at this time. Only these hardy residents seem to be much in evidence. A feeding board attracts considerable Camp Robbers or Gray Jays while other recpirocants of the free handout are several Harris Woodpeckers, Juncoes, Chestnut-Backed Chickadees, Stellar Jays etc. Ravens continue to play the role of scavenger about the parking area at Longmire after each week end and, while on a short walk along the river trail recently numerous Ruby and Golden Crowned Kinglets were seen. Occasionally, the rattling call of the Water Ouzel may be heard along the streams -- this fellow seems not in the least put out by the heavy snows but on the whole most of our birds are awaiting a turn in the weather before they return to their Rainier Park haunts.
Heavy snows also cause discomfort to deer -- particularly to the older animals. Mr. Bender reports one animal who seems afflicted with numerous parasites, possibly due to its emaciated condition. Deer, too, however, have largely wandered to lower elevations where food is more plentiful and easier to obtain. Not long ago a freshly killed deer was found near the park boundary in the White River District. The culprit was a cougar.
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