One Endangered Bird, Too Many Deer, and a Hungry Bear

I’m always on the lookout for wildlife stories and one good source is the “State-by-State” section of the USA Today, which I see a couple of times a month when I’m traveling.  The micro-stories cover all topics, but it’s a rare day that I don’t find at least one good animal story.

Here are the best ones I found last week, ranging from Hawaii to New Hampshire.

Hilo, Hawaii:  A dozen birds native to Hawaii will be released in November to end over a decade of extinction in the wild for the species.  The corvid is part of the crow family and will be reintroduced at a natural area reserve aviary, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported. 8/30/16

The ‘alala or Hawaiian crow is threatened by a long list of things including habitat loss, feral animals, and overgrazing cattle according to my Audubon guide.  After the initial release, more will be scheduled in the coming years.  It’s a collaborative effort between the state, US Fish and Wildlife, and the San Diego Zoo.  Teaching the chicks to hide from predators in the forest is one of the methods they are employing to increase the crows’ odds of survival in the wild.  Here’s hoping the reintroduction is successful!

Photo by Paula Nixon

Photo by Paula Nixon

Prineville, Oregon:  Residents are using streamers, balloons, pinwheels and CDs hanging from trees to scare off the city’s abundant deer, officials said. 8/31/16

Augusta, Maine:  The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife  approved an increase in “any deer” hunting permits.  There will be more than 45,000 permits issued this year. 8/31/16

Different responses to the same problem—too many deer.   In Prineville citizens are not in agreement about the deer population that hangs out in their town.  Some like the hooved visitors; others are decorating their yards in an effort to scare them away.  The city council opted not to fine those who feed them, but do strongly advise against it.

In Maine more hunting permits will be issued this fall after last year’s mild winter led to more deer surviving.  Hunters can shoot “any deer”— males or females.

Goffstown, New Hampshire:  A man said he spotted a hungry black bear trying to run off with his bird feeder outside his home, WMUR-TV reported.  The animal dropped the feeder but later snacked on some seeds in Jason Alexander’s driveway. 8/31/16

Bear stories are my favorite and this one comes complete with a video.  I hope that Mr. Alexander puts his bird seed away until the hungry bears return to the mountains for the winter.


May Flowers

Snapdragons. Photo By: Paula Nixon

Portland snapdragons
Photo By: Paula Nixon

I was in Portland a couple of weeks ago.  It’s a once a month thing.  Dave looks at a construction project and I get to walk around a nearby neighborhood with killer flowers.  In late March it was tulips and daffodils and grape hyacinths.  I took dozens of pictures.

On the April trip I was just going to enjoy the cool, quiet morning, no photos, but before I had walked a block I had my cell phone out taking shots. Bearded iris, delicate stems of lavender, and trees with blossoms I couldn’t identify.

I think my love of flowers came from Mom.  She has been planting and nurturing them as long as I can remember.   Sweet peas along the back fence on Fairview.  Geraniums in the front planter on Windsor.  Most recently, dahlias and larkspur in her backyard in Colorado.

But I’m not much of a gardener, especially since I moved to New Mexico—content to leave the landscape as is.  My ‘yard’ is mostly natural with native plants, piñon and juniper, chamisa and prickly pear.  A couple of patches of iris, a few scraggly lilacs, and a forsythia bush, planted by a former owner, survive, and in wet years thrive.

Tulips. Photo by: Paula Nixon

Photo by: Paula Nixon

I’m perfectly happy to enjoy other people’s labors: the rose garden at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, hanging baskets filled with trailing petunias on the Plaza, and my neighbor’s morning glories that have migrated to my side of the fence.

I keep track of what is blooming in the city and where, so when Mom visits I can take her on the tour.  Last month we drove around admiring the decked-out trees: peach, pear, redbud.

To my surprise I found tulips blooming in my backyard when I returned from Portland.  I planted the bulbs long ago in an old whiskey barrel.  They’ve never done much, but this spring some mysterious combination of snow and sunshine awakened them.  For a week I have enjoyed their beauty wishing Mom was here to see them.