A Fresh Start on Winter and Tasha Chooses a Den - UPDATE November 9, 2020

Tasha in rock denTasha in rock den

Winter weather disappeared and every speck of snow and ice melted this past week as record cold turned into record warm. Today, we are going back to normal. At dawn today, it was 52°F. Now at 6:30 PM, it is 31°F with snow beginning. Lakes that have reopened will be freezing again.

We’ll see how Lily responds to the change. Through yesterday, she was emerging from her den daily. We’ll see what the return to winter weather does to her schedule. I’ll probably get a report tomorrow.

Big excitement with Tasha at the Bear Center. She is doing in captivity what black bears do in the wild. However, I had never been able to see a wild bear in the act of stripping cedar bark, which is a common component in wild dens. Tasha is showing us how it is done and how to incorporate it in a nest bed. Taught by Bears caught her doing it in this 10:25-minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fwuajTVUnM

She is lining her den with entirely wild vegetation.

Before that, Tasha reminded us of June removing rocks from a wild den back in 2004. Industrious Tasha is doing even more in this rock den as captured by Pooch Pal in this 13:20-minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd4FK4IUEfg

I didn’t know this much digging and enlarging was possible when Honey and Lucky made do with what this rock den was years ago.

In this 6:39-minute video, Tasha is gathering and arranging wild grass https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLUB32UPhH8

In this 8:03-minute video, Tasha is arranging her bedding https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU5SUcl5uLE

I don’t know of another video series, captive or wild, that shows this detail of den construction.

Holly, I apologize for what I thought of you taking over Tasha’s den. Your shutting that door opened a window to Tasha showing us more about den construction than I’d ever seen in my 50-plus years of research. The forested enclosure where we all can watch is a wonderful place for learning about wild ways. Bears will be bears.

The photo shows Tasha watching the rain that later turned into snowfall as winter gets a fresh start.

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