Nature Notes

Volume VI No. 4 - September, 1933

Crater Oddities
History Repeats Itself

By Chief Ranger David H. Canfield

The famous influx of gulls that stemmed the grasshopper plague in the early days of Salt Lake City has its counterpart in the vicinity of the park.

In the famous Wood River Valley lush pastures grow scarcely above the level of the water table during the summer; and during the melting of snows the entire area is in mild flood condition.

Flocks of gulls were noted busy at work and intently interested. Investigating revealed that mice which had been snugly ensconced in woven grass homes underneath the winter's snow blanket were being forced to abandon their nests due to encroaching water. As they appeared from beneath the shallow snow, sharp eyes discerned them. A flop of wings, the sharp strike of a beak, and another mouse had completed his life cycle.

Crater Oddities
Beneath Castle Crest's Crags

By Ranger-Naturalist C. Andresen Hubbard

It is below the towering crags of Castle Crest that our bears romp and play. These bears are the largest animals in our park, and many are tame. Among the many roaming in the park there are three black mothers. Charity has three cubs, and the others have one or two. In so far as these mothers must supply their babies with milk, they eat almost continually at the Park Headquarters food waste pit, the bear feeding grounds. Each of the bears coming to feed has its own individuality. Charity is by far the tamest. She will make friends with anyone, allow her babies to romp over the person of any visitor, and climb without hesitation into any standing automobile. This rather slight individual is boss of the bears. All flee before her. Feeding three is a big job - she must have her food.

The other bears, subjected to the terrible onslaughts of Charity, the mother of three, are not so tame and are restless. They will approach one, ask for a tidbit, but their babies generally remaining in the trees. The slightest rustle of feet causes these individuals to race for the woods, leaving their babies behind. The youngsters seem safe in the trees. The mothers soon return, call their offspring down and the family shuffles off, to return when more favorable feeding conditions prevail.

Visit the bears, enjoy them, and remember the bears will be courteous to you only if you are courteous to them.

Crater Oddities
Pack Rats Sort Cabin Supplies

By Permanent Ranger Chas E. Simson

On a visit to the Pinnacles cabin on the East Entrance Road, during the stormy months of early spring of 1933, I found it inhabited by woodrats, their usual work being in evidence by a large nest in a corner of the building. A rat's choice of material was used.

However, this particular rat, the builder of the nest, was more select in his material chosen and the manner in which it was placed. This was shown by the method nails had been sorted by size. Each size was in a little pile of its own. Straight and bent nails were also separated.

The rat was apparently expectant of a ranger's visit, as knives, forks and spoons were piled together in the center of the floor where under subdued light of mid-winter, they could be easily found. Since we must have rats, some of us would appreciate this higher intellectual type as they do facilitate labors in gathering cooking utensils together upon visiting a patrol cabin.

Crater Oddities
A Bear's Ice House

By Ranger-Naturalist W. G. Vinal

Early in the spring the bears were pawing old stumps for timber ants, grubs, and other proteins. When photographing one of these piles of chips and sawdust in September I kicked the cone and discovered that there was snow underneath. Did the white man learn from the bear the art of preserving ice with sawdust?

Crater Oddities
A Cold And Snowy September

By D. S. Libbey

Summer visitors frequently inquire concerning when snow will come in the fall. This September has been particularly cold and rainy, with several flurries of snow. On the 24th over four inches of snow fell with a drift three feet deep accumulating on top of Cloud Cap. It appears that the prophecy of an early fall made by the "old timers" and the early appearance of the flocks of wild geese was not idle.

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