Saturday, October 14, 2006

eat & run, ursine version

First of all, I apologize to those of you who connect via a modem. This post is going to take a while to download. I whittled the list of pictures down to 12, from dozens and dozens that I shot, and I just couldn't bring myself to eliminate one more!

About a year & a half ago, I wrote about a little bear who came to visit in the middle of the night and then again the next day, when I could get a picture of her. Check
the post to see the picture. It was shot through a window with a screen on it on a cloudy day, so it's not very clear but she's very cute nonetheless. Read the story to see why I think it's a she.

On 9/25 this year, we had a visit from a bear, larger than that one but still small. It's impossible to tell for sure, of course, but I think this might be the same little girl. This time she was big enough to reach the long hanging feeders, so she was able to whip them off the line hard enough to make all the feeders clang to the ground. Then she settled down and proceeded to spend about 45 minutes cleaning up her mess. Well, at least she cleaned up the seeds. She forgot to hang the feeders back up when she left.

So here are a few pictures of my little bear. Enjoy!

How many feeders do you count on the ground?

In the picture below, I swear she's smiling.
When I called to her to try to get her to look my way, her ears went up and her head swung around, but she was in no way frightened. Just checking it out to see if she needed to be concerned about me.
Don't you love the way her lips are all bunched up here? She was still chewing as she checked me out.
You might think that she was being threatening in these next two pics, but nothing could be farther from the truth. She was yawning.
I changed the setting on my camera to "cloudy" here, which made a big difference on the colors, but I'm not sure it's really an improvement.
I watched her for about 15 minutes. When it became clear she was just going to take up residence for a while until she finished all those seeds, I left her in peace. About 45 minutes later, I came back to check on her, and was startled to find her wandering around on the back deck. In fact, she was right next to the windows! I ran for the camera and barely took this shot before Simba got wind of what was going on and put his nose right next to hers, barking madly.
She decided the risk outweighed the benefit of sticking around, not knowing when the crazy dog might jump right through the glass to get to her, so she hightailed it out of there. I was a little bummed; I hadn't gotten a very good closeup of her. My next shot was going to be with me on my knees to get a really good head shot. Oh well.Two weeks later, she hasn't been back. Either she has a really large range that she's working (and, after all, she ate all the seeds so in a bear's mind maybe there's no good reason to come back), or my fierce little 11-pound guard dog has made this stop on her route fall way to the bottom of her list. It's also possible she didn't mark anything with her scent, so she can't find her way back without some luck in the formula.

In any case, it was a delight to have her here. I agree with folks who say it's not good to entice bears into your yard by feeding them, because it's not good for them to get too comfortable around people. They become pests. And people find ways to deal with pests that often result in the bear's demise. So I'll do my best not to entice. But when a bear is as well-behaved as this little lady, I'll also do my best to enjoy her visits, if she chooses to return!


Eva said...

Oh, man, what a great bear. :) Amazing place we live, huh?

mll said...

Really? You pay for comments??? How much?

I loved the pics. Loved them!!

Thanks for sharing them.

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

Holy &*#)@ Cow! There's a bear on your deck!! Man, I've been living in the city way too long.

Good thing Simba was inside.

Alysha said...

I love it! I have to show these pictures to my husband! We just moved to an area that has had bear sightings and he's more the "I better go buy a gun type". [insert rolling eyes smiley here]

I need to show him that not all bears are looking to maul humans - just a little snack!

Now the mountain lion that's been supposedly spotted - that might be a little scarier....... :)

PatL said...

Black bears are pretty benign, as long as you can give them a little space. There's a GREAT book by Ben Kilham called "Among the Bears" or something like that, that is the definitive book on black bears. He raises them when they've been orphaned and releases them back into the wild. If your husband's a reader, I highly recommend it.

Brown bears (grizzlies) are another matter; a bit more aggressive, I understand, although still not man-eaters by any stretch of the imagination.

Mountain lions are way outside my experience. They do sound a bit intimidating!

sher said...

Amazing pictures Patl. My most exciting backyard visitors have been a fox. :) Hardly the same.

Have fun hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this coming weekend.

Faith-in-Capitalism said...

Holy CRAP!

We had a bear just one season. It was probably a young one trying to figure out his/her territory. It tore up a few feeders, but never came back. (I also brought the feeders in for a while.)

Yellowstone had a whole bear program that I was fortunate enough to see. Each bear is different and even black bears can turn agressive (one ripped this woman's arms off and tried to bury her for a snack for later; she lived). Plus, if this is a female, do NOT encourage her! She could easily rip the door off your house to protect cubs from a vicious pom. Distance is ok, but next time if you catch her on the deck, scream, bang pots with a spoon, etc! I know you enjoy seeing her, but you also might want to consider bringing your feeders inside for a few weeks each Fall and Spring. Their persistance and strength are what make them a nusance. (Plus their fabulous sense of smell. They will rip a car to shreds for one candy wrapper accidentally left inside!)