Many visitors come to the Park Museum to see the animals but on occasion we have had animals who visited the museum who possibly, came to see the people. And, as in the proverbial case of the man who bites a dog, it has furnished some interesting and amusing news.
A bear wandered into the museum late one evening. He shoved the door open and lumbered in, but the door has an automatic closing device and when his inquisitive nature had been satisfied he found that his avenue of escape had been closed. Bruin, however, is a philosophical fellow. He continued in his meanderings with rather untidy results and when the naturalist arrived to lock up for the night the floor was covered with a miscellaneous assortment of pamphlets and papers. From one corner of the room the bear, with beady, indolent eyes awaited the first move. When this was obviously of belligerent character he turned abruptly and crashed through a nearby window - taking sash, glass and screen with him - and went away from there in a hurry. Well, anyway the folly of the fabled Goldilocks had been avenged but we desire no more bear visitors.
For several weeks this spring a Douglas Squirrel made an early morning visit to the museum porch, upon which reposes the flower display, and staged a regular field day among the vases there. So each morning the porch resembled a bowling alley after a "strike" had been made. On another occasion a collection of Noble and Amabalis Fir cones had been placed in the woodshed of the museum. The next morning all had been removed and only a few cone scales served to console us. A squirrel had carried each and every one away.
Another squirrel furnished a hilarious though breathless experience. He wandered into the building, refused to escape through the door and also resisted capture so that he could be evicted. In the scramble that followed he rebounded off the wildcat, caromed in and out of numerous Indian baskets, ran the length of the otter's spinal column and took off from his (the otter's) nose in a long dive to the relief model. He landed awkwardly on the very summit of Mount Rainier but slithered across the Carbon Glacier and Spray Park and piled up on the face of Chenuis Mt. Righting himself he ran up the wall and sought temporary solace upon the head of the mountain goat but finally, after we had nearly laughed ourselves sick, he was captured in a wire basket and released outside the building.
Birds are also numbered among our visitors. We have had robins, steller jays, oregon jays, hummingbirds, juncoes and many others in the building. All would have broken their necks against the window panes had they not been captured and released. One winter a Pileated Woodpecker caused the naturalist considerable concern. The museum is an old shingle structure. The years have not been too kind to its aged frame and the daily vigorous pounding of this bird with its efficient beak was not conducive to our peace of mind. He took his work too seriously and one side of the museum shortly looked as though it had passed through a serious small pox epidemic. (C.F.B.)
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