All through the winter until 1/14, the bear ate snow only twice, both times by reaching her head outside the den to take a bite or two of the snow on the ground.
On 1/14, things changed. She began eating snow at least once per day. She wiggled so that her head reached further outside the den, day by day.
Then, on 1/30, she was a restless bear. Her head was visible in the den entrance almost all day.
She ate snow many times. Twice, she walked outside the den. Each walk was only about 6-8 ft in distance but it was an odd departure from her behavior earlier in the winter.
On the night of 1/30, she seemed not to sleep. She looked outside the den, and seemed to toss and turn until our last video clip at around 11 PM. After that, she was deep in the den, and there were no visible movements to trigger the cams.
The next morning dawned with incredible winds. The tree holding the cams swayed in the wind, which triggered a cam to record video and audio. The audio told the story - cubs had been born, probably very early in the morning of 1/31!!!!!
You can watch the video here or at Youtube. Make sure that your sound is turned ON!!! The bawling of the cubs tells you the most exciting part of the story!
I don't know when we'll get to see the cubs for the first time. Their mom was impregnated last May or June. The cells divided a few times, and then remained in suspended animation as balls of cells. Because the sow was fat and healthy when she entered the den, the balls of cells implanted in the uterine wall and began to develop into cubs.
The cubs were about 1 pound in weight when they were born. They spend almost all their time latched onto a nipple, nursing. They bawl when they lose their grip on the nipple or are not covered by mom so they get cold.
The sow and cubs will undoubtedly stay near the den into the spring, until the cubs are mobile and can climb trees to flee predators. I'm incredibly excited about getting to watch the cubs via my cams this spring!