Yesterday, Tasha showed her wild side. She did what I saw Blackheart and her two yearlings Dot and Donna do back on April 25, 2001. I believe Tasha was eating female hazelnut buds. These were buds that would become nuts, not leaves. I checked with Spencer at the Bear Center and he said there definitely were hazel bushes in that area but, like me, couldn’t see them well enough to say for sure. Maybe I can check tomorrow. Here is the 3:49-minute video by "Taught": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFfl6ANC0RU The odd thing to me is that these supposed hazelnut buds are 3 weeks early, just as the aspen catkins were in the update of a week or so were. I’m wondering what the hazelnut crop will be this year. Could abnormally early budding explain hazelnut failures in some years? We’ll see. Tasha might have alerted us to something. (A side note is that Donna is 21 now if we can confirm that she made it through the fall and winter. )
Then Tasha showed her playful side playing with a stick, which reminded me of the old days of playful Gerry using me as a stick, rolling around until she got too vigorous and I had to use my trick to slow things down. Playful bears don’t bite hard, so I put my arm in her mouth to partially immobilize her as I grabbed a foreleg, rolled her onto her back, and rubbed her belly. It put Gerry into an entirely different mood as she relaxed. Good memories. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_DUujYHF2I
Today, "Taught" caught Tasha enjoying a different kind of play that Lucky also loved when he was younger, slipping and sliding and rolling on the ice as shown in this 9-minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN9ICKgSEr8&t=263s
Nice to see Tasha returning to her active self more and more.
A note about Spanky. Although he has been walking about for a few hours most days in this early spring, he still spends by far the most of his time resting or sleeping, breathing like he is sleeping rather than in the depths of hibernation with long delays beween breaths. I’m watching for REM sleep but haven’t detected it. Maybe the den watchers will do better.
Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA