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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bears, Shyla, and Mystery Birds

I can't take my mind away from the bears who I observed on my trip. Like the bears here, they were transitioning from mating season into their "hyperphagia" season, when they eat relentlessly, up to 20,000 Calories per day. This bear was eating...
One of the foods that the bears were eating was wild strawberries. They are ripening here at home now too. Indeed, today during my bike ride, I ate some of them. They are super sweet and delicious but incredibly hard to find, pick, and eat. In five minutes, I ate about five of the berries.
They are tiny, and I'm guessing that they hold maybe one Calorie per berry. Can you imagine how much hard work goes into getting 20,000 Calories from berries? And, in the case of this bear who I observed, she had to forage and spend a good chunk of her day nursing her cubs. It's a tough, hard-working, life.
In the next photo, she wasn't acting aggressive or angry. Rather, she was scenting the air while in the midst of panting. Bears cool themselves primarily by panting, much like our dogs. Look at the size of her nose. She must have a great sniffer!

On these summer days, the only time that our dogs are outdoors and not panting is when the sun is low in the sky or when they are lazing around in the shade. Here was Shyla last night, very curious about the smells wafting up from a canyon at sunset. So many animals explore the world via scent, unlike us humans.
Her eyes seemed to almost pop out of her head. I wished that I could smell what was so interesting.
Bye bye sun! The next photo shows a funny habit of Shyla's as the sun drops below the mountains. She does the same thing when I arrive home and enter via the basement. She sits at the top of the stairs and waves to me as I climb the steps to see her. What a funny and cute girl!
Those photos were from last night's sunset. Alas, Shyla isn't feeling well today, with diarrhea that's left her feeling tired. The Runner took a fecal sample to the vet this morning but they didn't tell us the results before they closed for the weekend. So, now, we're "winging it", trying to help Shyla feel better without the guidance of our vet. Don't worry, if she doesn't perk up, we'll go to the emergency vet. However, I'm not happy with our vet hospital for forgetting about Shyla after how many times we talked with them this morning.

I went on a solo bike ride today, and I need some help identifying some birds. I found them on a small pond that has *never* had waterfowl on it in all the years that I've watched it. They swam around happily, never fishing or eating.
My research about what wild bird species this is suggests that the "Snow Goose" is the only real possibility. However, it's extremely rare around here. Why would three suddenly show up on a small pond in mid-summer? And, these are not a perfect match for the descriptions of a Snow Goose.
As I headed to the shore to get a closer look at the birds, they actually swam toward me like they were unafraid. Then, I stumbled over a bucket of tan granular stuff, with one wormy creature on top of the stuff, on the shore where these birds had obviously hung out earlier (there were feathers all around it). Hmm, the plot thickens...
If that's the case, I hope that they can evade predators, because there are lots and lots of them near that pond. I know that for a fact from my trail cameras in that general vicinity.

Does anyone know what kind of birds these are? I'd be grateful for any hints!


  1. To us, who are total amateurs, they look like a domestic Pekin duck that may be lost.

    Hope those bears find lots of berries.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  2. Love the bear photos! That must have been an incredible experience!

    Those look like American Pekin ducks--a domesticated duck species. We had these as pets when I was a kid.

    Sorry to hear about Shyla! Having just gone through a bout of diarrhea and vomiting with Wrigs, I sympathize. My vet's office sends all fecals out to a lab now. For some reason, they no longer do them in house as they used to for so many years. Maybe your vet does the same and that's why you didn't get results. In the probably dozens of fecals I've had run on Wrigs, we have yet to ever get a positive result.

  3. P.S. Those ducks don't have a chance there. Maybe some kindly person with a farm/ranch in the area could take them in? They can't fly, and even if they survive until winter, they will surely perish once the pond freezes.

  4. They look like domestic ducks to me, I'm sorry to say. Not really geared for a predator-rich environment.
    I'm no duck expert, though - I hope I'm wrong!
    Sorry about Shyla's gut issue - fingers crossed it resolves quickly!

  5. They look like Pekin Ducks to me. What a cute habit of Shyla's!

  6. I agree with the domestic/Peking duck.

  7. Those are definitely American White Pekins. My guess, they were someone's Easter present that looked oh so cute when they were ducklings (your classic yellow fluff ball), but nobody considered that they were going to have adult ducks to care for so they dumped them, not caring that they just threw them into the food chain unprepared.

    Since they came up to you unafraid they are most likely quite hungry and were hoping you were bringing dinner. Catching them probably won't be hard. You could put some feed in a dog crate and I bet they'd walk right in and let you shut the door.

  8. What a great greeting you get each time you come home. I swear, her eyes are so incredible.

  9. Ditto what Marlin said. So sad to see that happen, but awesome photos!

  10. What great shots to get to enjoy!

    We are sooooo missing Google Reader - since its demise, we've hit furry few blogs - just khan't find the spark with the alternatives right now -

    Shyla's shots were SO khute!

    Paws will be khrossed here at Khamp Khyra that nothing is wrong with your sweet girl!

    Khyra and Khousin Harley

  11. Thanks for all the great info about the ducks. Now I need to think about how to proceed. It's a bit of a sticky situation.

  12. You probably already know this, but we find that canned pumpkin works for Lucy every time. We substitute a cup of pumpkin for both meals for a day, then a half cup with half cup of regular food for the two meals next day. We never know what has caused the diarrhea but the pumpkin clears it up every time. We get the pumpkin at the pet store but I'm sure plain canned pumpkin would be fine. (Just not pumpkin pie mix.)

  13. Bet you smelled that bear Shyla. They sure are beautiful
    Benny & Lily

  14. Great photos! I hope Shyla is feeling better now.

  15. I hope Shyla is feeling better now. I love love love the picture of her with paw up!!

    Anne and Sasha

  16. That bear has a very big nose for sure!! Oh he can smell soo good.
    We hope Shyla is feeling better tonight-- so that she will be back to her perky self. She is adorable waving .

  17. Love Shyla's wave . . .so cute!

    I agree with everyone about the White Pekin ducks, they look immature to me, which means they would be "sitting ducks" for any bobcat or whatever. We raised them for a bit when we lived in NC and they are loads of fun, but how terrible to dump them!

    Jo and Stella

  18. They look like my duck!-a white Pekin. Maybe somebody dropped them off. They are probably looking for someone to feed them. They were probably hand fed and wouldn't know a thing about surviving in the wild.

    Hope they are OK.

  19. We're waving right back atcha, Shyla! We hope your tummy feels better soon.
    The ducks look like domestic Pekin ducks to us.

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  20. Howdy Mates, wonderful photos. We love the bear ones and Shyla's wave is adorable. We'll keep paws crossed she is fully recovered by Monday. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  21. I hope Shyla is feeling better. Sam has diarrhea from this medicine, and we've been giving him pumpkin to help settle his stomach. Maybe a little would help Shyla?


  22. Hi KB, Girl, as always, I love your photos. I am hoping that we will see some bears feeding when we are in Alaska in ten days. I love seeing Shyla, hoping she is feeling better-can't believe your vet didn't get back to you! You mentioned being in the flight pattern for DIA-I wouldn't like that either! It was fun to see the planes when we were on the golf course-it gave me something to do since I'm not a golfer.
    Hope your weekend hasn't been too draining with Shyla being sick.
    Sending hugs to you friend.

  23. We hope that Shyla's issue is nothing more than a minor issue such as we humans sometimes get. Keep us informed.

    Wonderful bear pics!

    The birds certainly look like snow geese. Sadly we are are not informed about to be able to tell you anything more about them.

  24. check out this funny Aflac commercial featuring the duck.

  25. Yeah KB- those are domestics. Snow Geese are not pure white, like those, despite their names.

  26. 20,000 calories is a whole lot of calories. It must take so much effort to eat that much. Shyla is adorable. I love all of these photos.

    from Melissa Wetzler at Online Accredited PhD Programs


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