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Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Return of the Big Bears

While we had fun in the desert...
The bears were waking up back home. Our big male bears were starting the mating ritual of marking certain special trees to tell receptive females that they were back in town.

For those who have followed this blog in past summers, you might remember "Tiny", one of the biggest males in our neck of the woods.
In fact, he's so big that he almost was too tall for my camera set-up. He was vigorously rubbing his back on a small pine tree. It's a tree that bears have marked every spring and summer for a long time.
These "chosen" trees never grow to full size because the bears break off the top of them every year.

A few days later, another key male bear showed up. I believe this is "Milton Jr.", based on the white blaze on his chest that you'll be able to see when he's on his hind legs. I call him "Jr." because he's a bit smaller than another very similar looking male who usually shows up a little later in the season.
See the white blaze?
He's always been a "creative" tree marker, using his paws a lot to rub branches across his fur, thereby getting his scent on even more of the tree.
I think he spotted the trail camera here. He looked straight at it as he marked.
I felt so happy when I knew that both Tiny and Milton Jr. had survived another year and returned to their stomping grounds.

Then, just yesterday, Tiny marked the same tree again.
He is an incredible specimen, so tall and strong.
He showed us the sole of his hind paw as he walked away from the tree.
Unfortunately, the video cameras that I'd set up before our trip, pointed at bear marking trees, all malfunctioned, primarily due to a vandal who messed with them. They're now back in position and ready to capture the next dances by these bears and the females who will soon join the parade.

Although the mountain weather has been dismal (rainy/snowy and cold for weeks), I still have an extra spring in my step knowing that the bears are starting their yearly ritual that is such fun to monitor with trail cameras!!


  1. Can't believe your cameras are messed with....unless it's wildlife. So great to see the bears again. We remember both from last year.

  2. Hooray - so happy to see Tiny and Milton Jr. again and looking well. Bummer on the vandalism.

  3. This is the first time that i've realized that the bears walk right on the TRAIL!! OMD! It makes these "captures" that much more special!!

  4. That is one BIG bear! I'd hate to meet him person to bear on one of the trails.

  5. OK, first I adore that first picture! What expression on his face!

    Amazing to see the bears standing on their back legs. They really really are massively tall.

  6. Here's to bears and to better weather.

  7. The bears are so cute! I love that you have names for them!

  8. Oh I am so exctied to see Tiny and Milton again. Yeah

  9. Good to see them return. Tiny is an incredible specimen indeed.

  10. What a great post! Thanks. I get pretty excited to see 'our' bears again, and you do a wonderful job of showing us their majesty! How much do you think "Tiny" weighs?
    We had a big cinnamon colored bear here a couple of years ago, but haven't seen her for awhile. It's incredible to see the same bears in multiple years, thanks Kyna!
    And that picture of R at the beginning is one of my favorites, I love that dog and his exuberance!

  11. Yay - the bears are back! We love the hesitating look on Junior's face as he spots your tail camera.

  12. Darn those vandals!

    About how tall are the bears when standing on their hind legs?

  13. Oh yea, we're glad to know they are both doing okay! They sure are something special.

  14. NinjaPonyDad - My wild guess is that Tiny is about 300 lbs. He's the biggest around here, although Milton Sr. is almost as big. Milton Sr. isn't here yet. He was badly hurt a couple of years ago so I always wait with a bit of worry to see if he arrives.

  15. They are awesome looking. They wintered well it seems.

  16. So cool and such great photos of them Look forward to more.

  17. It's so wonderful to get to "know" your neighborhood bears!!
    Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

  18. Great photos. We don't have any bears here on the island, we're excited about our barn swallows!

  19. What fantastic photos! Just beautiful
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  20. So glad to see the return of the bears! Great images as always, of behavior I don't ever expect to see firsthand.
    (Sounds like you need another camera, pointed AT your wildlife cams?! Hope no serious damage was done by the rogue human.)

  21. Welcome back Smokey. They are ginormous
    Lily & Edward

  22. We're glad the vandals didn't damage the cameras. I think we'd be pretty scared to run into these boys along the trail!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  23. Hi KB
    When we look at these bear photos,,, so many words start popping into our head. Magestic, Grand,, Strong, Powerful, Mighty,
    Its just incredible you share your world with these beautys.
    Thank you for doing this,,, for having the passion,, and sharing with us.

  24. I would be terrified knowing I lived near "Tiny!"


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