Nature Mapping Monthly Highlights

September Observations

Charlotte Kidd observed a Mountain Bluebird with “a silver band on its right leg” near the airport. This observation indicates this bird was either captured and banded by JHWF prior to our use of color-bands on Mountain Bluebirds, or by another research group.

Charlotte also was able to aid the recovery of a Yellow-rumped Warbler which had collided with a window, by putting it in box until it was ready to be released. While window-strikes are a leading cause of bird deaths, Charlotte’s case is a good reminder that collisions don’t always have to be lethal. Allowing a stunned bird to recover in the safety of a dark, aerated space, and releasing it when it seems ready to fly on its own, is a great way to increase the likelihood of survival!

Additional avian reports include Dave Lucas’s observation of a group of Clark’s Nutcrackers, which visited his feeders, and an adult Great-horned Owl which paid a visit to a cottonwood tree behind Kay Stratman’s house.

Frances Clark reported a pair of moose displaying mating behavior in her yard, while David Armstrong observed a pair of bulls foraging along the Old Pass Road Community Trail. The rut is here and moose-hormones are high! Please remember to give moose (bulls especially) a wide berth at this time of year, both respect for the animal and for your personal safety.

Photo: This wandering garter snake was photographed in September on a road by Hilary Turner. Hilary helped it on its way by moving it off the road in the direction it was traveling

Several nature mappers reported wildlife on or near the road during September. Kay Stratman reported three raccoons which were hit and killed on S. Hwy 89 north of Rafter J, and Scott Capps drove by multiple mule deer attempting to cross the highway in Snake River Canyon. Due to factors such as shortening day-length, migration and likely hunter pressure, wildlife-vehicle collisions involving ungulates are often reach their annual peaks in October and November. Roadkill of mesocarnivores and small mammals is also likely to increase at this time of year, as young-of-year animals disperse from their natal home ranges.

Moving along to other observations, Mary Gerty nature-mapped a pair of playful river otters just south of the Snake River bridge near Emily Steven’s Park. We’ve been seeing river otters EVERYWHERE this year!

Benj Sinclair reported multiple groups of Sandhill Cranes, which totaled 22 birds, soaring approximately 1000 feet above East Jackson. The majestic flocks circled for ten minutes before disappearing from view. Likely observed in migration, we’ll look forward to the return of these cranes next spring.

Dave Armstrong reported two different bears spotted within a span of five minutes while on a hike at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He also came across a dead bat (species unknown) on the Teewinot lift. Human-bear conflicts could increase over the next few weeks as bruins begin to enter hyperphagia and begin searching for berries and other forage closer to town. Please be bear aware!

Julie Deardorff was lucky enough to witness a Goshawk catch a Eurasian-collard Dove (which was not as lucky) near the Jackson Hole High School. Goshawks are year-round residents but are seldom seen, so this is an exciting sighting, indeed!

Finally, Dennis Butcher encountered a Dusky Grouse near Nelson’s Knoll. According to Dennis, the grouse was not especially concerned with his presence and exhibited the bare minimum in terms of “avoidance behavior,” flushing just enough to keep a tree between it and him.

Thank you to all who entered wildlife observations into the Nature Mapping Jackson Hole database last month!

Celebrate Wildlife!

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