A Glimpse of Spring From the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

From filmmaker Maaike Middleton

Nature Moment: Bear with us (Part 1): What’s that…smell?

All bears have a fantastic sense of smell. The area inside a black bear’s nose, called the nasal mucosa, is 100 times greater than ours. This young black bear (Ursus americanus) smelled something’s not right and had to go sniff it out.

Part 2 of this video to come later this week. Stay tuned.

Maybe shorten the fun fact to this length? And then add your usual credit shout-out at the end.

Fun fact:
What does the American black bear eat?
American black bears are omnivorous, consuming a range of grasses, fruits, roots, nuts, mammals, fish, carrion and honey. They are opportunistic eaters, feeding on whatever is available at the time. ( credit @onekindplanet.org)

Nature Moment: This masked bandit is making a run for it. Whether you live in the country or the city, you’ve probably had a run-in with raccoons. They can be found all over.
Fun fact:
Their masks aren’t just for show.
Thanks to the black markings that fall across their eyes, raccoons have been typecast as the conniving thief or trickster figure in stories for centuries. But their famous black masks do more than make them look like adorable outlaws—they also help them see clearly. The black fur works just like the black stickers athletes wear under their eyes: The dark color absorbs incoming light, reducing glare that would otherwise bounce into their eyes and obstruct their vision. At night, when raccoons are most active, less peripheral light makes it easier for them to perceive contrast in the objects of their focus, which is essential for seeing in the dark. ( Credit @mental_floss )

Nature Moment: 🎶On the way home, you don’t ever have to feel alone… 🎶 (On The Way Home, @johnmayer )

Two adult mountain lions showing that they are not solitary animals like many thought.

Fun Fact:
Cougars live in low-densities on the land–a single cougar requires 50 to 100 square miles to breed, raise young, and hunt. Both males and females are highly territorial and maintain and defend their chosen home ranges from other cougars. Females can be tolerant of slight overlaps in their territories with other females. However, males will defend their home ranges against transgressions by other males. (Credit:

Nature Moment: Lunch anyone? Here’s a great blue heron pondering his next meal at a new fishing spot. With the soothing sound of rushing water and crisp greenery, he definitely has the best table in the house.

Great Blue Herons hunt from shallow water, moving slowly and searching the water under the surface. They will eat whatever they can catch including frogs, snakes, crayfish, fish, small mammals and even other birds. They will snag smaller prey with their strong mandibles or can use their sharp, dagger-like bills to impale larger creatures.

Want to learn more about birds and how you can help protect them. Check out @audubonsociety

Nature Moment: A red fox takes a look around as the birds tell him he’s not a welcomed visitor. (No little prince here, fox!)

If you look closely at his fur coat you can see that he’s shedding his winter jacket for his sleek summer coat.

Fun fact: Like a cat’s, the fox’s thick tail aids its balance, but it has other uses as well. A fox uses its tail (or “brush”) as a warm cover in cold weather and as a signal flag to communicate with other foxes.

Nature moment: a young mountain lion checking out the camera while feeling his distance…….
Mountain lions will cache their kills under bushes and cover them with grass so that birds such as eagles or magpies can’t find their kills. Think of it as a refrigerator for a mountain lion!

About Maaike Middleton

Maaike Middleton is a wildlife filmmaker. She was born in The Netherlands and grew up in Montana. She has traveled the globe filming wildlife from pumas in Patagonia, the illusive Amur tiger in the Russian Far East and grizzlies in her backyard. Maaike is passionate about telling stories that can make a difference and address issues that impact us all. When she is not setting camera traps to capture animal behavior she is watching films and helping with the selection process for the Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam. She received her MA from University of London- Royal Holloway. BA Montana State University- Bozeman. She has worked on projects for Smithsonian, Nat Geo, Curiosity Stream, BBC Nature, PBS and ARTE.

Maaike Middleton

Maaike Middleton is Co Producer of Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story

Our fiscal sponsor is Film North click here to make a donation. Meet the Advocates inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story

The Trailer

A film project in the works.

This documentary tells the story of advocates working to preserve the legacy of Yellowstone National Park wolves that face an uncertain future because of legal hunts just beyond the park’s border. A famous wolf, known as 06, was killed in a legal wolf hunt when she left the park’s sanctuary in 2012. Six years later 06’s daughter, known as Spitfire, wolf 926F suffered the same fate in November 2018. Today, Wolves in Yellowstone have become the “rock stars” of their species due to the hundreds of thousands of people that venture into the park hoping for a glimpse of a Yellowstone wolf. The death of 06 and other collared wolves has ignited a battle to create a buffer zone around Yellowstone National Park to protect it’s wolves because legal trophy hunts take place in Wyoming, Idaho & Montana. The film is set in our nation’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. By 1926, as a result of federal and state predator control efforts, gray wolves (Canis lupus) were officially extirpated from Yellowstone National Park. Northern Rocky Mountain wolves were eventually listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973.

The film’s fiscal sponsor: FilmNorth’s mission is to empower artists to tell their stories, launch and sustain successful careers, and advance The North as a leader in the national network of independent filmmakers. We achieve our mission by nurturing a vibrant, diverse community of film and media artists; providing education and resources at every stage of their careers; and celebrating their achievements.

We wish you and yours a long and full life! Stay Home. Save Lives!

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