Sharon Sharin’ Bear News - UPDATE October 8, 2017

An update from Sharon Herrell:

Bear News – October 8, 2017

Gray fox pupGray fox pupThe tree colors in Ely are at their peak. The yellow aspens and the red and oranges of the maples all indicate winter is on hand. While I say that, I’m happy to report that the dens have been prepared for hibernation.

John Leonard put the finishing touches on the Cabin den Saturday by putting up the back door on the den. I don't know if Tasha will stay there, but it is ready for her if she chooses to. You can see by the photo she has been digging under the cabin den.

Lucky is the only bear actively coming to the window area for guests to see.

Ted makes a brief appearance every few days but again, it is his needs we attend to not ours.

Holly slowly poked her head out to see what I was doing today. I unlocked her gate so she might rake in some leaves. I know she would prefer to do the raking rather than us giving them to her. I can't watch her every minute so I don't know if she did or not. With the gate open, it also gives Tasha a chance to wander into the small bunker to visit Holly if she wants to.

MoonMoonTed definitely is enjoying his nesting area. What a great and beautiful bear. During our first behind-the-scenes today we had a young child that continually cried and squealed. Ted became very alert as if he was looking for the cub. Human baby cries are often mistaken as cub cries. Once the child was close to his den he could see her and made his gentle grunts; they seemed to talk. It was a great teaching moment not only for interns but our visitors.

We received some wonderful comments as folks left. "Your enthusiasm really shows”. "That was incredible". "I didn't know bears reacted like that”. "That was fun." "Incredible, enthusiastic, and fun." -- we can't hear that enough.

Thank you, and be sure to tune in Wednesday for our live broadcast at 1:00 PM.

Sharon Herrell
Bear Curator

Dark eyed JuncoDark-eyed JuncoA Lily Fan caught Ted relaxing while he ate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCFVlSciFfA

Here at the WRI, as it was getting dark, the pair of gray foxes brought a pup, but I couldn’t catch it with the parents for a picture. Amazingly, the pup held still for a picture that the camera brightened up like it was daylight. A deer came out darker. You never know.

Leaves rained down again but not in a direction that would show them against a dark background. Now, as the aspen leaves are falling, the tamaracks are beginning their final show.

Deer at duskDeer at duskWith the leaves falling, one thinks about winter. Right on cue, snowbirds showed up. That’s another name for dark-eyed juncos. Snapping a picture through the window, I wondered if the bird could see me. Then I looked at the junco’s eye in the picture and saw a reflection of me standing in the window. I’m sure it saw me but I was holding still.

Last night, the moon came up big on the horizon, and I tried once again for a moon picture. It came out okay, but I don’t know how some people get the super shots I’ve seen.

It was a good day. I sent a draft of “Denning behavior of black bears in northeastern Minnesota” to the co-authors.

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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