When I arrived back home after my hike this afternoon, I saw a moving blur of coal-black. The unmistakeable blur of a quickly moving bear, trying to avoid detection. I was approaching my front steps. He was quickly entering the woods. My two cameras that I carry with me, were at the ready, but still I was too slow.
I wasn’t quick enough. That’s okay though. He was scared off by my presence. My yard had been visited by one of my neighbors, a Black Bear or Ursus americanus. I’ve gotten many photographs of these guys over the years. I love to get pictures of them, but have learned that they are much better off if I send them on their way by hollering at them so that they know this is my home. Better off, if I don’t daly, taking photographs, making him feel welcome in my part of the woods. Bears have the rest of the forest to romp through.
Bears are welcomed by trash cans, and cat or dog food left outside. Feeding the birds also tells the bears that you are a nature lover. That you have the welcome mat out. A welcome mat they think is out just for them. I’ve been surprised to find out that bears love sunflower seeds. I’ve watched as bears daintily work to pick up the tiny seeds from the ground. Now I know that I cannot feed the birds, but birds will be fine without my help and the bears will be better off. Bears get accustomed to visiting our homes, getting into the delicious trash that we leave out, eating our cat and dog food, munching on the compost we have carefully buried.
With the temptations that we leave out for the bears, they of course keep coming back, making a nuisance of themselves and frightening otherwise sensible people. The authorities get called in, and what is their course of action? Relocate the poor bear. This relocation seldom has a good ending. They are relocated to become a problem in another area. Don’t welcome bears with your trash, pet food, bird food or compost and we will all be a happier lot.
Adult black bears range in weight from 100 to over 600 pounds or more. Their weight depends, in large part, on what food is available to them and what time of year it is. They will weigh the most as they are preparing for winter hibernation. And bears don’t hibernate because it is getting cold. They go into their slumber state because their food supplies are dwindling. A bear in Florida will have a very short hibernation, or perhaps non at all, but then they have a food supply that stays productive throughout most of the winter.
What Color Is A Black Bear
Despite their name, a black bear can be anything from an icy white, to glacier blue to coal-black to many shades of brown. Our bears, here in the east are most often black with a brown muzzle. About a quarter of these eastern black bears have a white blaze such as the one in my photo above. Bears in the west are more likely to be some shade of brown. Some bears even change color over the course of a year, and cubs of different colors can be born in the same litter. No matter what color the fur, a black bear is still a Black Bear, Ursus americanus.
What’s On The Menu
Although black bears can run up to 35 mph over a short distance, they are not built to take on a chase to hunt down their next meal. The average black bear eats less than 10 percent meat, and that often comes from found carcasses and bugs. Here in the mountains, I often find very large rocks turned over. A sure sign that a black bear has come through looking for ants and grubs.
When I first came to the mountains, every snowfall, I’d look for bear tracks. Surely they’d come out to enjoy the snow? No such luck though, they do hibernate and by the looks of this fellow, it seems it is about time for that to happen.