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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Confident Girl

Yesterday evening at just about sunset, a front of storm clouds suddenly took over our world, after a day of blue skies and warm air. It seemed sure to bring huge storms but it didn't.
Very oddly, for Colorado, we awakened to an overcast day, and it looked sure to storm this morning. I brought rain gear when Shyla and I headed out for a ride. 

During our ride, I usually try to get a photo to fit the "cue" from a Flickr dog photo group that I participate in. Today's cue was "Look Out!". In the past, when I've tried to get photos of Shyla looking at me, she's spent the whole time swiveling her eyes around, trying to keep watch on the world 360° around us. Our trainer calls it "hypervigilance", a common behavior in dogs with a tendency to be fearful.

So, I reasoned - if I asked Shyla to look at me, I'd surely end up with a photo that fit "Look Out!" as she tried to watch out for danger behind her while lying in an exposed spot. 

I was wrong. My sweet girl settled in and looked at me with confidence. It made me smile that I was so wrong about how to get my "Look Out!" photo.
So, we went on our way, with me pedaling and Shyla running to an incredible patch of Columbines. Just after we arrived, something in the aspen grove caught Shyla's attention, and she looked surprised! I think it qualifies as a "Look Out!" photo.
I never found out what had caught her attention so totally. As quickly as she'd been surprised, she settled down again. We had a peaceful ride back home, where I left her so I could go on a solo ride.

During my solo ride, I checked trail cameras, wanting to see what had happened over the holiday weekend. In general, I see that the animals hunker down, staying far away from any human scent, when the holiday hordes descend upon the forests. This past weekend was no exception, although two bears, Milton Jr. and Cinnamom, showed up for my trail cameras.

The photo of Cinnamom was a relief to me. I hadn't seen any sign of her recently. Knowing that she has a "strike" against her (as shown by her ear tags), I always worry that she's going to get hungry and get herself killed by going near humans (bears are euthanized when they get their second strike).

We've had a lull in ripening of the usual natural bear foods so I've been expecting that bears will start visiting homes, which really raises my worries about Cinnamom. But, from this photo, I know that she was fine as of a few days ago!

Cinnamom was sniffing a bear tree that was very popular with the bears last summer but less popular this summer. She's big for a female bear but you can see that she was standing on her tip toes to sniff as high as possible where big male bears can mark.

I'm looking forward to a season of bear cubs next summer. Cinnamom will probably have cubs, as will Mabel (our black bear mom from last summer), and Socks (Cinnamom's daughter who is about 4 years old and was consorting with Tiny during mating season). If all three sows have cubs, there will be lots and lots of fun cub cavorting to capture with my trail cameras!


  1. you showed two beautiful reddish girls today. :)

  2. I wondered if you got any of the storm we had last night. Today started cool and with overcast skies, but by the end of the afternoon the clouds had passed and the temp went up a bit. Love seeing your bears!
    Have a great week, please hug Shyla for me.

  3. We cannot wait to see some baby bear cubs too!
    I think that photo of Shyla definately looks like look out to us! A beautiful look out!

  4. You keep your eyes open for mom Shyla. You gotta keep her safe
    Lily & Edward

  5. Shyla's second surprised picture made me laugh.

    There will be a lot of cubs to ooo and aah over! I am looking forward to that. Do females always reproduce every two years, or have they been known to skip years?

  6. Houndstooth - They do skip years if they are not fat enough when they go into the den. They mate in June but then the fertilized eggs stay in suspended animation until the sow starts hibernation. If she's too skinny or sick when she goes into the den, the eggs never implant in the uterine wall. But, if she's strong and fat, the eggs will implant and grow into cute little cubs. They are born in January. My fingers are crossed that the bear food situation improves here soon so our sows can get very fat!

  7. We hope the bears don't get too hungry and get in trouble.

    That first picture is just magic.

    XXXOOO Bella roxy & Dui

  8. I love the adoring look she has for you in the first photo!

    Looking forward to bear cub photos someday. You sure have a lot of bears around to "spy" on with the trail cams :)

  9. Shyla has such expressive eyes! You captured the perfect picture for your Flickr group.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  10. Cinnamom is so tall and beautiful with her ginger fur! We were so lucky to see a black bear cub out foraging near the road last weekend.

  11. The perfect look out photo, love that look. The bear is beautiful and I hope everyone stays out of trouble.

  12. We love that beautiful Shyla face and I hope that Cinnamom keeps out of trouble.

  13. Colorado definitely has interesting weather. We did a dude ranch vacation one summer about an hour outside of Denver. On any given ride, we could go from warm and sunny to cloudy, to snow showers, and back to high heat! We packed a lot of gear on those rides ;-) One of my best vacations ever, too! Nothing beats a week on horseback in your kind of scenery!

  14. When Blueberry's eyes are wandering - she isn't fearful, she's looking for bunnies! :)

    Love Shyla's eyes - so expressive!

  15. Lovely Picture of the mountins. Amazing you know all about the bears, do you write it all down what happens like a diary?
    We had Another warm day, almost 30+C puhhh the dogs are not comfortable with this. Tomorrow again but then it will be some degrees down

  16. The bear reminds me of a young Friesian horse - they can sometimes be black with reddish highlights until they shed out - It's one of my favorite color combos.

    Monty and Harlow

  17. Many of our trails are closed because the bears. The wild cherries and blueberries have ripened at the same time so the bears are feasting on them. We humans are having to resort to eating cultivated blueberries.

    Love the sweet Shyla finally looking out.

  18. Aww, bear cubs! Hope there are plenty to watch grow!!


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