June 21, 2017

How Much Depends on the Grizzly Bear?

Here in Banff, grizzly bears are sometimes called "indicator species."  This means that as well as being majestic, beautiful and impressive, grizzly bears reveal something about the health of our park.  

You could sit around a pub with a bunch of conservation biologists talking about this idea for hours, but in a nutshell, this is what it means: if we can keep grizzly bears around, in healthy numbers, then our park is probably healthy enough to sustain most of our other animals as well.

So imagine our delight when we saw this play out at our house this past month, in an absolutely literal sense.  We have a wreath that our sister-in-law Dawn made, with an enamel grizzly bear nestled into it. In May, we noticed that a pair of juncos were building a nest behind the bear. The eggs were layed at the end of May, the chicks hatched on June 9th and 10th, and the young fledged out of the nest yesterday and today.


We've had front row seats from our kitchen window for the whole time, so here's a quick look at the growth of our little family of birds, piggybacking on a grizzly bear!

Mom... or Dad (you can't tell with juncos)
Are you bringing food?
At the start, the chicks were made of mouths more than anything
A dead ringer for Larry from the Three Stooges
Out of the nest, but still looking for handouts!