Ursus americanus: American Black Bear

As demonstrated by the shaded areas in the two range maps below Black Bears, which were once ubiquitous to most of North America, occupy only a small fraction of their historical range.

Due to habitat loss and other human factors Black Bears numbers are currently only a fraction of what they once were.

Historical Range:

Current Range:

Vaughan, M.R., and M.R. Pelton. 1995. Black bears in North America, pages 100-103 in E.T. LaRoe III, ed. Our Living Resources. USDI-NBS, Washington, D.C.

Imagine a time of abundance, no not not all you can eat buffets and free soda refills, but a time where animals we share the planet were more than occasional encounters.

Mormon Cricket: Anabrus simplex

The Mormon cricket is actually not a true cricket, but rather a shield-backed katydid. The common name derives from an invasion of the crops of Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake area in the mid-1800s.

We ran across plenty of these katydids on a recent hike although not in the numbers depicted in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy3dQJYquoY. While these insects can be quite destructive to crops they do eat the grasses and plants in natural rangelands much as large grazing mammals do (or did). I also find them quite interning to look at as each has subtle color variations.

Given these were not marching across our hiking trail in plague proportions I enjoyed seeing them on a late fall afternoon moving through the already dry grasses.

A job well done

The other day I saw a yellow flash land in a nice cedar tree. Thinking it was an unusual insect I quickly went over to get a look. Alas, it was not a new insect but a Honey Bee and to say this one was covered in pollen might be an understatement. This little bee could hard fly with the load they had acquired. After a few minutes of rest they slowly lifted off and headed back to the hive. A job well done.