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Monday, May 24, 2010

Ursine visit and fresh lion kill

At about 2 AM, I woke up for no particular reason that I could perceive. I decided to crack a window open and let in some fresh air. Just as I arrived at the window, a large black bear form padded past it. He continued silently to our birdfeeder area where he carefully examined our set up.

As I watched silently from the window, he stood on his hind legs and grasped the metal pole that forms the trunk of our tree of birdfeeders. This metal pole is sunk in concrete and unclimbable, at least by any bear who has yet challenged it. Our wildlife camera documented his actions.
Still bipedal, he circled the pole.
He showed us his impressive rump.
Then, he returned to the "standard" pose that we have of many bears. Based on comparisons, this bear is young and not too big. I am slightly taller than he is when he stands on two feet.
Next, as I watched from the window, he climbed a small pine tree near the birdfeeders, and its pointy top shook wildly from side-to-side. The camera didn't capture his image in the tree. Then, he descended and proceeded to do a little dance, still on two legs.
Gotta love the dance moves!
He decided that he couldn't reach the agonizingly nearby food and ambled toward our front porch. I thought that he might drink from our bird bath - but instead, he glided by like an apparition in the night.

Through all this activity, I was the only one who woke up. Even the ferocious Labraduo slept through it.

This morning, K and I headed out onto the trails, with me vigilantly watching for any body language from K indicating that a bear was nearby. Early in the ride, she became violently excited, and I leashed her while I scanned the area. OMD, what I saw!

At first, this scene looked benign, until I noticed a massively disturbed area near the middle of it.
A mountain lion had killed a mule deer overnight, and mostly covered her body. I suspect that it was a deer who has been hanging around this spot in the forest acting oddly for the past few days. I'd guessed that she had a fawn nearby. I hope not.
We did an about-face, and headed in a different direction for our ride. After that start, it was a truly idyllic ride. We rode through dense pine forests that still harbored snow banks for K to imbibe snowcones.
And, best of all, we made it to a meadow that we haven't visited as a pair since last October due to snow-choked trails. K's nose was in the air, always scanning for trouble.
I'll continue with my desert vacation story soon... but the action around home today was too exciting to delay telling you about it. Oh, and I put a wildlife camera by the deer cache so I might have some interesting footage of a mountain lion to share in the near future.


  1. Those are some amazing pictures! I think we all would have fainted to have a bear so close to our house :) What an exciting day - wow!

    Emma Rose

  2. Can't believe you woke up to that! Unbelievable! He looks huge - love his dance steps (Dancing with the Stars, anybear?). And the fresh lion kill is grisly, but always incredible to see the lions. K and R have formiddable snooters.
    Hugs xoxoxo

  3. That last picture of K looks so zen happy!

    I'm not sure how I'd react if I found a bear outside my window. I had to giggle at some of those pictures. He looks like he's walking on stilts behind those green posts. Maybe you'll have to find some music for him to boogie down to for future bear videos! It was too good to wait to share, I agree!

  4. Wow! What an exciting day!

    Mom says there was a lion kill discovered at a local open space park here in San Diego last summer. 2 mountain bikers stumbled upon it when it was very fresh. They took a video of themselves with it, all the while laughing and joking around that the cat might be somewhere close by.

    Later on, the rangers actually posted a message stating that their joke was probably not far from the truth. They said with a fresh kill, the cat would never be too far away...guarding it. They were lucky mountain bikers that day!

    wags, wiggles & be-safe slobbers

  5. A pole dancing bear? (Sorry - couldn't resist!) Great captures! My heart did a pitter patter at the deer carcass. Glad K is alerting near areas that might signal danger for you.

  6. Awesome!

    I'm sure you weren't tempted to go tuck a buck for his moves?

    The lion kill is all part of the circle of life - sad but true -

  7. How amazing. Simply great photos. Guess it's for the best the labraduo slept through the excitement.

  8. how exciting!! can't wait to see what the camera catches! looks like the lion ate a substantial meal, based on the back end of the deer...way too cool....
    there have been black bear sightings in the surrounding rural areas of madison...some have captured video of the bear going through their backyard..."they" say the bears are traveling through...

  9. Your post KB...had me on pins and needles, I can only imagine the excitement of having bears and mountain lions so close. Really enjoyed the bear photos!

    In rely to your comment...there are no bears here to enjoy all the Jack-in-the-Pulpits on the property.


  10. The bear must have been trying to make plans for a maypole dance:) Amazing that you arose just at the right moment to capture that bead. We never cease to be amazed at what we find when we visit your blog/

  11. That is just so cool that the bear was in your yard! I can't believe that the dogs didn't even hear it. Some watch dogs they are!(That's what I tell my girls when they missed something or when I walked in the door and they didn't even know!)

  12. Bears, and kills, and lions, oh my!

    Could that be our bear Mom with the two cubs from the winter?

    Such good stories!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  13. Wow! Your post reminds me of why, although they deserve respect, bears don't worry me much (dancing and bird feeders), while lions are just scary. (I suppose I might feel differently if I lived in grizzly country.)

    You have such great adventures outside your door! How close to your house is that lion kill?

  14. AC: That lion kill is about a half mile from my house as the crow flies. The scary part was that it was within 30 yards of the most heavily used trail here (that means that about 3 people a day use it). I called all of the trail users to warn them.

    I agree about your bear vs. lion feelings. I've never met a bear that didn't turn tail and run. The same is true of all the lions that I've met on our trails but they make me queasy. Despite that, I love having them here. It's humbling not to be at the top of the food chain.

  15. I have so much of your adventures to catch up on. This was incredible! The photos of the bear in the night... Wow!!!


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