It’s a Puzzle – UPDATE May 26, 2013

Female Baltimore OrioleFemale Baltimore OrioleIn this year of the latest spring, the latest emergence from dens, and the latest emergence of plants from the forest floor, we would think that hungry bears would be seeking other sources—like bird feeders, garbage cans, and feeding stations.  Yet we are getting calls from bear-feeders asking where all the bears are this year.  Even a feeding facility 46 miles away that feeds about 100 bears, said a week ago that very few bears were visiting. 

Sledding propane tankSledding propane tankToday, our computer screens showed GPSed bears out in the woods away from people, presumably eating the vegetation and snow fleas that have been showing up in their scats.  But what kept them away from the feeding stations earlier?  It shows there is more to learn.  It’s another case of what makes human sense doesn’t always make bear sense. 

Removing solar panelsRemoving solar panelsSue didn’t learn much yesterday that would help solve this puzzle because June’s cubs stayed high in a tree holding June to that area.  It’s typical for the first couple ‘walks’ with a mother and unfamiliar cubs to be ‘sits’ as the cubs get used to having a person around.  June’s remote location kept us from familiarizing ourselves to the cubs during the socialization stage that ended over a month ago.  Early familiarization pays off with easy, trusting walks with families.  June’s cubs will get used to us, but how quickly that happens depends on the cubs’ personalities.  We hope June’s and Big Harry’s calm genes manifest themselves in the cubs. 

Spooling den cam cablesSpooling den cam cablesA video of June’s search for her cubs yesterday is posted at  Listen for her soft vocalizations.

Lily’s den shed was taken down today and will be resurrected at the Bear Center for all to see.  The Technology Team will use it for testing new equipment to make next winter’s Den Cams as good as they can be. 

Bear Educators prepare enrichmentBear Educators prepare enrichment for NABC bearsWork today at the Bear Center included planting shrubs and flowers around the pond to provide bear food, butterfly food, and beauty.  Members of the Bear Educator Group helped staff plant chokecherry, serviceberry, pin cherry, hazelnut, bunchberry, spikenard, sarsaparilla, bedstraw, swamp milkweed and wildflowers.

Ted has supper guestTed has a supper guestWe don’t see many Baltimore Orioles (Icturus galbula) here at the northern edge of their range, but today we saw two—a beautiful male and a female.  We quickly put out orange halves. 

We were shocked by the sudden death of Pat Boone, a.k.a Paula Alexis Boon, who we talked with for the first time 3 days ago and received research materials from 2 days ago—the day she died.  She was obviously loved by Lily Fans who appreciated her kindness and devotion to the bears—as evidenced by the donations in her honor.  She will be remembered for the ways she cared and helped.

Thank you for all you do.

—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

All photos taken today unless otherwise noted.

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