About 10 AM this morning One-eyed Jack relieved many by casually checking in and letting us know that he made it through another year and letting Black Bear Field Study Course participant Kathy Roye photograph the white hairs on his face and feet. I hope he becomes a regular visitor again. I checked my diary, and we first saw him on August 5, 2002 when he was an adolescent three to five years old, making him 23-25 years old today—about the age of Ted.
We’re also waiting for other regulars of the past that have less need to visit with so much food in the woods. It again disproves the old belief that bears become lazy and dependent when they find easy supplemental food. The truth is that they continue to prefer wild foods and, as we have found over and over, they work hard foraging for wild foods when they are available. It may be harder to determine who survived through another winter and who didn’t if some of them don’t bother to stop in.
As another example of the abundance of hazelnuts this year, someone sent me this picture of a cluster of five hazelnuts that we don’t often see. After all the rain, the nuts are robust and getting ready to make bears happy and make people wonder where all the bears went. A good hazelnut year herald production of many cubs as young bears gain the weight needed to maintain pregnancies and produce their first litters.
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