Valentine and her Two Brown Cubs - UPDATE May 28, 2019

Little Valentine, born to RC in 2016, grew up to be a 3-year-old mother of two brown cubs—one light, one dark. The light one sticks close by her. Valentines light brown cubValentine's light brown cubThe dark one mostly stays up trees. We’re guessing that it was Crackle, the only brown male in the area, who we have to thank for this. The big excitement yesterday was seeing this family. We didn’t know at first if it was really Valentine. Her big white heart-shaped patch is so low on her chest that all we could see was the top edge, but she had the unusual big light patches on her forehead. Then she rose up. There was the heart. She and the cubs will likely be around through the summer. She was the one yearling of RC’s litter that stayed around after family breakup. She made her territory here and was seen frequently over the next couple summers. The phone rang several times today with sightings of her. I’m looking forward to the summer. This 2:37 minute video shows more.

Dark brown cubDark brown cub Valentine and lt. brown cubValentine and light brown cub Valentine and lt. brown cubValentine and light brown cub

The other big welcome sight is 3-year-old Lucy, daughter of Samantha. Lucy is not with cubs and is becoming attractive to males as well as 20-year-old RC. An interesting skirmish between these two females ended with RC walking away. Both avoided each other after that. When the males here at the time tried to get friendly with RC, she sat down. Then, they all scattered when a big male with a faint V came on the scene. He homed right in on the place RC had been sitting—what a keen and focused nose. He sniffed the spot for several minutes and then found RC in the woods maybe 50 yards away. They disappeared together.

Valentine walkingValentine walking Valentine raisedValentine raised

Things are getting interesting.

On another note, after this cooler-than-usual spring, the last trees are just starting to leaf out. Balsam poplar and black ash now have tiny leaves bursting. I am hoping the cool spring delayed blossoming of berry bushes until the chances of a late frost were over. Blueberries are in blossom, but I heard last night was 28°F. That reading was from 10 miles away, though, in a place where cold air pools because of the terrain. We’ll see if the blossoms survive. The forecast for the next 10 days is for highs in the 60’s and low 70’s and lows in the 40’s and low 50’s, which will promote growth. The forest floor is now covered with sprouting large-leafed aster leaves at the early stage that bears devour.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center