On the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, someone has a taste for pinyon pine.
Pinyon with a chunk of bark missing
Even larger and older de-barked area
After finding marks on a 1/2 dozen trees, the mystery had me hooked, so I set a cam on one.
Camera set with chewed pinyon pine and suspicious burrow under small rock
4 weeks later, I had pics of 5 terrific species. But, I didn't think they answered the riddle.
So, I showed all the photos to bio-bud Craig to discuss the possibilities. Of course, he knew the "who chews?" immediately. And, I have to say I was surprised - it wasn't something I thought existed anymore in our nape o' the American way.
I'm sure some of you fine folks from lands further east knew right away too.
But, for those still wondering, let's take a look at the 5 species the camera trap saw. If even just to rule out the innocent suspects.
Two character coyotes stopped by the scene. Perhaps, in these arid lands, their urine is extra caustic, and they're burning the bark off the trees? :)
Coyote digging and smelling
Listening and smelling and looking at camera
Coming to check out camera (be nice!)
Back to listening
More digging and smelling
The second coyote dropped in for a bit of the same. Looks like both were much more interested in whatever lives under the rock, than in the pinyon tree, huh?
A silvery song dog sniffs the burrow under the rock
Listening - note the notch in the ear
Offers paw for truce hand shake
A couple of fine looking yotes, that's for sure. But they aren't our bark biters, of course.
We'll look at the next of our fab five furry candidates this Friday.