Ranger Rickard recently took a few days vacation from his station in the Carbon River District. As is customary his cabin was properly locked as he left so you can imagine his surprise upon his return when he saw some very positive evidence of the fact that, during his absence, his cabin had been entered. Now "Rick" is quite a sizeable fellow capable of doing considerable damage to anyone having any ideas along that line in his regard. But he did not have to search long to find the culprit in this case. For it happened to be a grouse and there perched upon the back of the davenport in the living room the bird was making himself quite at home. Perhaps "Rick" counted ten as is customary to sooth one's anger at such invasions. He may have found it necessary to count on hundred but at any rate the bird was evicted gently from the premises as soon as possible, and Ranger Rickard and his wife again took full charge of the premises. A broken window pane had served as the "open sesame" for the grouse though how it came to be broken - whether by man, beast, or the grouse itself - remains a mystery.
Robins, as well as many other birds in the park, are busy with nesting problems. One pair of robins have constructed a nest beneath the eaves of the writer's home while another pair have set up housekeeping in a similar location at the museum. Ranger Barnett reported that a pair of Stellar Jays have also built a nest upon the window ledge of his cabin - The Ohanapecosh Ranger Station.
The evening we were given to remark that the bears, although many of our neighbors had suffered from overturned garbage cans and more serious trouble, had never bothered with the contents of our own trash can which reposed serenely upon the back porch. Hardly had that statement been made when a loud crash bespoke of the presence of bruin. The bears were possibly seeking revenge for such undiplomatic statements on our part. And overturned garbage can is a messy sort of revenge!
Rangers Buckmaster and Loercke, while on a trip down Stevens Canyon to check up upon beetle infestations in the white pine there, recently came across the carcass of a goat. The animal was a yearling and had been killed and partly devoured by cougar. At least such would seem the case as many tracks of that great predator were seen in the vicinity. Quite a few goat winter in that region as was noticed on a trip by the writer through that region last February.
Assistant Chief Ranger Macy mentioned some time ago that a fox had become mor or less of a regular boarder at his home. The animal seemed not at all afraid of humans and readily came to the back porch where he found food of various sorts ready for him. Several others about Longmire have also had the pleasure of feeding foxes in a like manner during the past winter when the snow was deep in this vicinity.
Those of you who wish to color the cover drawing may be interested to know that is represents a Western Winter Wren, the most beautiful singer at this season. This bird, though being the smallest of the birds which inhabit the park with the exception of the Hummers - is possessed of a bubbling song that fills the moist, shaded woods to overflowing. His song and not his markings are the conspicuous feature however as he is a plain brownish bird with short black bars upon the tail and sides. With that exception he is almost totally brown varying little in color unless it is to a greyish hue upon the bird's abdomen.
The ground squirrels have made their appearance in Paradise Valley in spite of the deep snow drifts there. Ranger Charlie Browne mentioned that one of these fellows, so popular with visitors in the summer, tunnelled through the snow to the surface about there weeks ago. He emerged into the bright sunlight, blinking - saw Charlie and then hastily dived right back from where he had come.
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