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Friday, April 29, 2011

A bear and her cubs!

Yesterday was my lucky day. As I went about life, my favorite black bear sow led her new family past one of my wildlife cameras. One cub was next to mom and the other was lagging as s/he investigated something next to the path.
The lagging cub tried to catch up...

Mom must have decided that nothing in that direction struck her fancy because she led her cubs back the other way a couple of minutes later. This time, no one lagged.
I'm guessing that the family found a refuge spot near this path. A refuge spot would probably be a bit off the path, and it would be at the base of a huge tree with rough bark that the cubs can climb. In our area, a Ponderosa Pine would be ideal.

I speculate that the family rested together near the refuge tree for hours. Then, mom sent the cubs up the tree to hide and sleep while she foraged. She walked past my camera again in the afternoon. She's looking really good - she's fat and has shiny fur. It looks like some kind of wound is healing on her side. I believe that she's the same sow as the one who occupied the den that my camera monitored last winter.
Nothing in that direction held her attention so, within minutes, she headed back toward where she'd left the cubs. Look at the sole of her foot!
I saw bear tracks that walked perfectly in the week-old track from my snow bike a little ways down the path in the direction that the bear was traveling in the last photo. There was only one set of tracks so I'm betting that mom foraged in that direction too.
After I caught a glimpse of the bears on the viewfinder of my camera, I hightailed it away from that spot. I didn't want my presence to spook the family into leaving their refuge which I guessed was very nearby.

I made the many still photos of the bears, taken about every 0.1 seconds, into a short flipbook video which you can view below or at Youtube.

Based on what I've read and learned from following Lily the Black Bear, I know that a bear family with tiny cubs does not travel much at all. They go less than a mile at a time, and then tend to hunker down in a safe spot for many days. I hope that I didn't spook them when I checked my trail camera.

Compared to that snowy photo, it's very hard to believe that, later in my bike ride after checking the wildlife camera, I saw a flower called a Spring Beauty in a sunny meadow. It's a tiny gem, less than a half inch across. But, when I take the time to really look at it, it's delicate and gorgeous!

We ended our day yesterday with a romp far away from the meadow where we recently saw the coyote pack. We hiked up to Hug Hill, and R made the most of a snow drift!
When we arrived on the peak, the sun set was just starting. A tiny bit later, the sky was on fire!
Then, the orange faded to pink.
And, less than a minute later, only a touch of pink remained as K stood like a statue with her paws on the stump.
Wow, what a day!


  1. I can only imagine your excitement at having caught these images on your camera--Just amazing, and what a beautiful sunset at the end of it all!!

  2. How very exciting!! I love your trail camera and the black bear with her cubs is suberb!! The rest of the pictures are great too...such beauty! Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

  3. No kidding, WHAT A DAY!! The sunset was spectacular!! Happy weekend!

    Rottie Kisses

  4. What exciting pictures!! Thanks for sharing the bear family with us :)

    Wyatt and Stanzie

  5. Bears!!! I can't believe it. They are AMAZING!! Now, what would happen if the mother bear saw you - would they just run away or might there be trouble? I have heard they are very protective over their cubs.

    I am going to check out the blog you mentioned.

    Your pal, Pip

  6. How exciting - you really are having a great week of wildlife. Wonder what happened to cause that wound on the mother bear? Her coat is so black and full.

    And your skies - gosh, they look like they were handpainted - just magnificent.

    Have a great weekend.

  7. I wonder if they were heading to The Maggie Valley for a pic-a-nic?

    Great shots!

  8. As always, I love getting to catch up on your posts and photos when I have access to the internet. What a treat to see these bear photos :) and the last photo of K in the sunset is absolutely stunning!


  9. Since we have (slow) DSL now,, we can watch videos like these amazing pones that you took. Your photos are just amazing! You must have felt like you found a gold mind when you saw your cameras captured these photos. It is so cool to know these animals live around you,, they have a life and do things daily.
    We have wild life too that I wish I could capture ,,, if only I had a camera like yours.
    The sunset was perfectly peaceful.
    So beautiful

  10. Wow, that's so cool! Great pictures of the dogs and sunset.

  11. What amazing footage of those bears! My favorites were the sunsets. I can never get enough of them! :)

  12. Days are never dull for you living in the mountains! I can't believe how glossy the Mom's coat is - and how huge she is! Really fun to watch your video. Thanks

  13. Absolutely magical. Sadly, we are left with just 19 bears in the Pyrenees !

  14. what a day is right!! jackpot!

  15. How exciting to see bears!! It seems everyone in our community but me has seen one. One day maybe...

    The pictures are gorgeous - and the one of K are just stunning. I love those chocolates.


  16. That is a healthy looking family. Hope the foraging is good for them.

    And what stunning sunset pictures.

  17. Wow! You must have been beside yourself when you saw what your trail cameras had captured! Such wonderful creatures and so fun to see the cubs :D

    Thanks for sharing,

  18. Your trail cameras are so much better than ours are. After seeing your wonderful jphotos, we set out a "trail camera" in our cul-d-sac but all it caught was two Fords, one Chevy and a Dodge pick up.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  19. Wow! What a day, indeed! And what a place to call home!

  20. Just discovered your blog a few weeks back. Much fun. FYI: Sue Morse from Keeping Track Inc in Vermont calls the tree where mama bear stashes her cub(s) in the high branches while she forages alone a "babysitter tree".

  21. Wonderful bears! And that sunset just leaves us speechless!

  22. A-MAZING photos! And the video of bears is just wonderful, I played it twice! Love K against the beautiful your blog pics!

  23. That is exciting news to know that the bear has cubs again, and sort of nice to know she's the same bear from last winter. I have a feeling those cubs aren't going to stay little for too long.

    That sunset is just amazing! I never seem to be very good at capturing sunset shots.

  24. I love the photos of the changing sky! Amazingly majestic.

  25. As cool as the bear and cub photos are, I love that sunset photo the best. Our sunset was not that spectacular that day. You got the GREAT view! Glad you captured and shared it!

  26. Those bear cubs sure are adorable, and your sunset photos are gorgeous!! What amazing colors in the sky.

  27. Love that sunset photo.

    So, are these new cubs from this spring? And, are they from the den you staked out earlier?

  28. What a day, indeed! Those bear pics are terrific - you're very lucky to have taken such good pics of the whole family. I didn't realize bears and their young didn't range much - I suppose that makes sense...
    Those sunset pics are breathtaking. I sat and stared at them for a long time.


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