Monday, December 27, 2010

Mouse warms itself with space heater

When I was at the Wilds last Sunday, participating in the Chandlersville Christmas Bird Count, I had the good fortune of being paired with Jenise Bauman, their new Director of Conservation Science Training. She is a new birder, and got to see - and hear - some new members of the feathered pack. I got access to the Wilds' 10,000-acre innards, and I'll post some more on that later.

Over the past year, the Wilds has constructed a wonderful new conservation science training center, with seating for several dozen. This facility will be outstanding for classroom components of natural history workshops, and I hope to be involved in some interesting activities there in the future. Associated with the center are two brand spanking new cabins, perched on the shore of a small lake. Jenise offered me a nickel tour of the cabins, as no one was in residence, or so we thought.

One of the science training center cabins, so new you could still smell the freshly hewn pine from afar. To ensure that the pipes don't freeze in the Arcticlike weather we've been having, there are two small space heaters chugging away inside.

In we went for a look around. It wasn't long before we discovered that the cabin did indeed have a tenant! A White-footed Mouse, Peromyscus leucopus, was perched on his haunches about a foot in front of the heater, luxuriating in the warm flow of air.

We spotted the mouse from across the room, and I figured that it would flee as soon as it became aware of the bipedal behemoths. Not to be; apparently so entranced by the balmy air the mouse barely gave me a glance and a twitch of its ears. Unfortunately, my good Nikon was some distance off in the car and all I had was the Droid with which to capture the scene. I crept up to within a few feet to photo-document the clever beast. When we returned some time later - Nikon in tow - Mr. Mouse had apparently thawed sufficiently and departed.


nina said...

Left the Nikon in the car? I imagine that won't be the last time!
I have a little white-footed dwelling with me, as well.
She had a blackberry for Christmas day dinner.

Jimu said...

Adorable. Just...adorable.