Nature Notes

Vol. IX June, 1931 No. 5

Just Here and There

Probably he was just down hearted and tired of it all but at any rate whatever misfortune had visited him served to give us a long hoped for opportunity. Pileated Woodpeckers while generally very rare elsewhere are quite abundant in the Park. These large beautiful and spectacular red and black birds may be seen most anytime by even the casual visitor at Longmire. However they are so wary and so adept at keeping upon the opposite side of the tree trunk that good photographic opportunities are rare. But all good things comes to him that waits. Ranger Rickard noticed one of these birds in distress. He called the writer and an inspection served to reveal no apparent reason for the bird's distress. While able to fly and move about, its movements were decidedly below normal and in that manner the bird was rather easy to handle. Consequently the cameras were brought into play for in his below normal condition we had ample opportunity to photograph the giant woodpecker at will. The woodpecker was placed out of harm's way for the night and the next morning though still a little "rocky" was able to make his way about in a more normal manner.

Several families of birds have built their nests within easy reach of our cameras. A pair of Varied Thrushes raised their family on a cornice of the Museum and the young have just recently left the nest for the rigors of the "cold, cruel world". Near the warehouse a family of husky Stellar Jays may be found. The young birds are now nearly grown. In fact, in an emergency, at least they can be nearly as noisy as their parents. This fact was brought out quite emphatically when, in trimming away a few branches from about the nest to allow for better lighting, those young remained perfectly still until our bold approach called for more vigourous measures on the part of the occupants of the nest. Then the air was split with a chorous of immature squaks and we beat a hasty retreat as the parent birds charged in from a nearby tree.

sketch of bird on branch

A pair of Nuthatches were observed busily engaged in the responsibilities of family life at Paradise Valley where the winter's snows are fast disappearing.

A fox has been observed. by Longmire residents many times. He is apparently unafraid and will approach anyone if a "hand out" is the reward.

Raccoons are, of course, quite in evidence. They have been about the homes at Longmire all winter and several of them can be coaxed in doors. They are possibly the most entertaining and intersting of the smaller mammals of the Park and one of these fellows has become so accustomed to us that he turns up every evening upon the porch and waits patiently, peering through the window in anticipation of the feast that he knows is forth-coming.

On one occasion a Martin - judging from the description - was seen for a moment lurking in the shadows as a pair of Raccoons were enjoying a meal at one of the residences at Longmire. He was too cautious to approach close enough to receive his share of the feast.

Several bear cubs have been seen. One mother bear at Longmire has the responsibility of twins and the ensemble struts about just as though they own the place. Perhaps they do -- at least most everyone realizes that caution can be applied in large quantities where cubs are concerned. Consequently the path of this triumvirate is very rarely contested by any of we two legged animals.

sketch of fox

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