A rehabilitated grosbeak sitting in a tree after release

— by Dawn Harrison — Last week, we received a call about an injured bird in the valley. After being taken to the vet and receiving some medical attention, he came to us for rehabilitation. While resting and healing, he was visited by the local sparrows, who never left him without company. The Grosbeak prior to release | Photo by Dawn Harrison Deciding when a bird is well enough to fly is a bit tricky, but when he gives you a look that clearly says, “Let me out!” after flying around his cage—thus showing he’s ready to take to the skies—you may just make the same call I did and decide he is ready to be on his way. The bird specialist at the local vet informed us that...

Black Bear resting behind a large rock

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Huckleberry Bear Bear is quite elderly now, so foolishly, we trusted him. We wash the bear enclosures with a powerful hose, which is an object of great interest for the bears. (Ramble the grizzly snares one with some regularity and seems to find a thrill in the upset caused by the need to replace a severed and well-punctured hose at $60 and a 3-hour round trip drive.) But gentle black bear Huckleberry? Now that it is spring and the bears are awake, Huckleberry goes out into his Garden. There is a passageway from his enclosure to the Garden that passes quite close to the water spigot and its attached hose. Jean had moved the hose, he thought, out of...

A white wolf and a dark gray wolf howling together

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — As I walk through the early morning cold, the wolves and coyotes begin their morning howl. I let the beauty of the sound vibrate through me, into me, into every cell of my body until the music of the howls and I become one. 30 March. The melting mounds of snow are forming great puddles on the land, puddles that are apparently irresistible to the multitudes of birds on the property. They are out there indulging wildly, ecstatically, fluttering and splashing and ducking and preening and ducking and splashing and fluttering for a very long time. The ice is gone! Freedom! Spring! The joy and excitement is contagious. Life is good. Hopefully our willow buds...

White chicken in a nesting box

— by Dawn Harrison — Sally the Chicken was on the office porch as she often is, sunning herself, when something told me she wanted attention. When I bent to pet her, she tucked her body and gave me a look that said, “Well come on, pick me up.” So I did. I was expecting a very short and possibly awkward time holding a wary chicken. What I got was a very loving Sally putting her head to my chest, looking up, and cooing to me a bit. It was a lovely connection with such a strong and willful creature. Of course, she kept true to her reputation once I put her down. She ruffled her feathers, preened a few, and determinedly walked back to her feed pan. But a connection was made. — by...

Sally the chicken

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Sally the chicken came marching towards me with something clearly on her mind. She had a request. Would I kindly see to it that she could get back into the coop---she needed to lay an egg. Unlike her sister, she does not do anything with timidity. She had a demand and expected it to be responded to. In fairness to her, imagine if you were chicken-sized and had an egg as large in proportion to your body as an egg is to a chicken. You might have a sense of urgency as well. I’m not sure how I knew that was her request, but somehow, I did. She doesn’t have her usual access through the dip under the fence, since the snow is melting and the dip is...

Teton Totem the Grizzly Bear

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — It is late February. It is cold and blizzarding. Will someone please explain to me why Teton Totem decided to rouse himself now, of all times? I rush to the store to get dark lettuce for him. That is close to what they will eat in the wild to ease their stomach into the world of food again. He is interested. It is a bit of a break not to have to care for five bears for several months. But we do miss them. And on the very, very plus side... he survived the winter! It is a worry for me each year. I just can’t believe they can disappear like that (he went to bed in early November), not eat, not drink, and come out alive. It isn’t possible. But it...

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