On a rickety, hundred foot tower in the Peruvian rain forest, our guide couldn’t spot the toucans he’d hoped to show us. “I’ll call them,” he said, and pulled out his cell phone. We all laughed and watched as he pushed an icon and…played a toucan recording. The toucans came. I recognized their beak shape, but they weren’t Fruit Loops toucans–just dark colored birds we might see anywhere except for their profiles…that and answering phone calls.
Bear scat ought to be too icky to draw interest, but it’s so readable. It doesn’t even stink if the bear’s eating vegan. I was lured into the topic by an Alaskan guide who said that bears eat dirt, rocks, and moss to plug their systems for hibernation. It turns out not to be true. Bears do rid themselves of “plugs” after they hibernate, but hidden hibernation cameras reveal that dirt, leaves, and hair get lapped in as sleepy bears groom themselves through the winter. Much as I love guides, I need to remember they may not know squat.