Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Five:
Case File No. 15-223
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Where We Left Off:
Gus and the Chipmunk Mafia have tangled a couple of times. He captured and released a couple of them.
Things got quite interesting here at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency back in June. As you can see by the case files, we had many wildlife interactions which gave Gus, Oliver, and the humans time to observe and gather information. One of the species that only gives us a small amount of time getting to know is the volkolaks — the bear shapeshifters. They’re the magical beings featured in my novel, Bear Roots. We have so little opportunities to research them while they are passing through the yard and not hibernating or staying hidden.
Fully human teenage boys are known for causing a lot of trouble; when it’s a wild beast, there is even more to consider. The new family of volkolaks already conducted a heist and made off with all the bird seed. As noted in that case file, one of the cubs was displayed signs of independence while the other clung tightly to momma bear, Ainsley. The independent cub’s name is Silly,Â but is most likely Silny which sounds like “shill-na.” It’s Polish for strong. He’s exploring on his own away from his mom and sister, Val.
On June 22nd, we had an unforgettable experience with a volkolak. All four humans and the two feline detectives were on the balcony of the second floor to watch the furry black beast who entered the grounds from the road. It turned out to be Silly.
The first thing that we realized was that he was in no hurry to be anywhere. He remained calm and curious. He stopped at Gnome Grove where he laid down and ended up covered all over in conifer needles. Gnome Chomsky reported that he was never afraid of being attacked exactly. He was more afraid of being accidentally harmed as Silly tried to roll around and clean himself. Gnomez Addams reported that no other critters came around while Silly was there.
Hopefully Silly enjoyed his rest in the copse. He moved around the whole yard exploring the fairies’ fern garden and making his way close to the house. It was like he was ready to ask Rapunzel to let down her hair — and seriously, my hair is almost that long now. I think he took the time to smell every bush and flower. His deep brown eyes were sweet as if he was pleading for us to throw down some snacks. The bird feeder was empty and still crushed from the last volkolak visit. Consequently, if he wanted treats or a free lunch, he was going to have to snack on the wild raspberry bushes.
Silly wasn’t content with the healthy berry choices and he slowly crossed the road to the neighbors’ yard. He walked through their many piles of construction supplies until his nose led him to the garage. It was a Tuesday — not garbage collection days for us or the neighbors. Our garbage is kept unlocked right at the driveway side of the house. The neighbors must not have wanted theirs inside their nice new two-car garage because it was outside. Silly found the bags and silently tore them to shreds looking for his meal. Fortunately, he left the mess right there instead of carrying the bags away with refuse trailing all over the place.
I have no idea if he ate anything from that garbage, but he never came over and looked in ours. We were grateful for that. He did come back though and spend more time in our yard. He walked up the pavement and turned right onto the grassy field. He plopped down right in the center and rolled over exposing his belly and everything else. Silly has no modesty at all. Without being able to communicate directly, none of the questions we had could be answered: Was he bored? Was he sated? Was he sad? Was he enjoying his time alone in the sun? Is he thinking about his journey or does he have a mission to accomplish?
When Silly got up from his grooming session, he had a raspberry branch stuck to him. He must have realized the time and had some place else to go. He trotted passed the broken bird feeder to the trails and into the woods.
While we came up with more questions than answers, this long observation was unique and treasured. Silly is comfortable here. Hopefully he and his family can avoid traffic on the busy road and stay safe from the fall/winter hunting seasons. This visit occurred during prime black bear mating season. Perhaps, Silly was experiencing his first desires to look for love.
What we do know in terms of generalizations are that black bears have excellent geographic proprioception (maybe that’s not the right phrase for it, but essentially they know their way around); they have excellent long-term memory; they average two years between births; embryo implantation is delayed for months until winter. Adult males may have a range of 8-15 miles; female black bears of adult age have a range of only 2-6 miles.
With this information, we can assume that Silly will travel a larger area than his mother and sister.
Case Status: Closed (research only)
If you care about the NJ wildlife, consider donating to these important organizations:
- Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Raptor Trust
- NJ Bat Sanctuary
- Woodlands Wildlife
- Cat Rescue: Catsbury Park, Clifton Cats, PetSmart Charities
- Long distance Dog rescue: Flying Fur Animal Rescue – the pilot’s plane is in need of repairs that are the kind that cost as much as a new plane. They have a bus in operation for rescue.