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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thankful Thursday: The Awakening of Milton the Black Bear

Upon returning from the desert, we immediately knew that the bears were getting active. As we headed down our driveway, we saw that a bear had knocked over both of our bear-proof garbage cans, and he'd rolled one into the forest near our house. We knew that the males were waking up before we left but it always takes a while before they start actively seeking food.

This year, bear activity is starting about 5 weeks earlier than last year, probably due to our mild spring.

The day after we arrived home, I headed for an area thick with black bears most years. I expected that I might find a trail camera video of male black bears. However, as you might remember, female bears who are raising cubs can't leave their dens for another month or so. The cubs aren't ready to walk any distance yet so I didn't expect to have footage of any sows. Last year, my cams at the den showed that the newborn cubs didn't set paw outside the den until mid-April.

My hopes were realized - and with my favorite male bear. Milton, the huge male with a white patch on his chest, had lazily hung around a spot where I have multiple trail cams, letting us get a glimpse into the life of a bear whose behavior isn't being affected by fear of humans nearby.

Here's Milton's first sighting two years ago.


In the video from this April, Milton first danced at a popular bear-marking tree. Then, he stood, listening to the world while urinating in front of the cam. Next, he stood in a spring-fed puddle and appeared to listen to the birds and squirrels. Finally, he marked the nearby tree again, before heading off to visit other key spots in the forest.

You can watch the video here or at Youtube.


You might remember that Milton was very badly injured a few years ago. He was not bearing weight on one front paw, and he disappeared for months at the end of the summer. I feared that he'd died. However, he returned and appears to be getting stronger and stronger over the years. I'm so thankful to see him so fat and healthy, after four months in a den!

I love bears.

23 comments:

  1. He is so beautiful and looks to be in good shape. Yay Milton!

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  2. thanks for another Milton Movie.. I love him and wow that is a lot of pee and he was sure to give us full view. I wonder what he is thinking when standing and staring... he looks healthy.. so happy for him.... I am glad we will now get views of your wild life, could you order up antoher cougar siting?

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  3. 4 months and look at that glossy coat. Birds chirping and warbling, leaves rustling, and Milton, as good as always.

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  4. Sandra sent me to see Milton. Loved the video. Have a great day.

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  5. As I said, this is better than Nat Geo!! Hopefully Milton and all his relatives will visit the squatters
    Lily & Edward

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    1. I hope so too, except if the squatters are carrying guns. That would not be good for Milton.

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  6. Oh my, we love seeing Milton too and we are glad to know he is doing okay! Thanks for joining the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!

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  7. THAT was a LONG pee...it's cool you get to see them. I saw a black bear near my house last year. He was hanging around an alpaca farm. He was tagged (most bears are where I live) and he looked much smaller than Milton.

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  8. Oh my goodness I am so so very glad to see Milton. I, like you, worried for him but he looks so good.

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  9. Great to see Milton is back and looking so very healthy!!!

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  10. What a treat every year to see that your old friends have survived another winter and are ready to enjoy the outside world again.

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  11. That was just awesome! Milton looks so healthy! He's gorgeous! I had to watch the vid twice; what a gift to be able to see him. Thank you for posting.
    KZK

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  12. How cool. Bears are such neat animals...dangerous, but fascinating.

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  13. I do so enjoy your video's. Especially the bears. Every time I watch the bears dancing I'm thinking "and a one cha cha cha, and a two cha cha cha"! I know , I'm weird! Lol!

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  14. Thanks for sharing Milton with us. It's good to see him looking so good this spring.

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  15. Oh, love to watch him dance! And love how he grabs that branch and rubs his head and ears on it! Fabulous video!

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  16. Milton looks great!! love the video
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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  17. No matter how many times I see his pictures, I am always surprised by Milton's size. What a very big boy!
    Is that frothy-looking whiteness around his mouth from something they eat at this time of year? Or is it just the resolution of my laptop screen? ;)

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  18. Milton looks like such a big gentle guy! It is fun watching him. We had a smaller bear in our yard a couple weeks ago, and then evidence that one had gotten INSIDE our dog pen, and knocked down some bird feeders that I had inside another fenced in area! He didn't do any damage to anything but the bird feeders, which amazed us! We're sure it was a bear because who else is big enough to bend over a thick metal pole? And we never heard a thing that night!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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