Scent MarkingScent Marking trees are generally pine and cedar. Female bear marking a white pine in December.
Scent MarkingFemale bear using a well worn cedar tree for marking. Usually at 6-7' height you will find bite marks and deep claw marks on a well used scent marking tree. Strands of fur will also be left behind on the tree. I call these trees the black bear Post Office. These trees are like their social media for communicating to one another in re to territories and breeding.
Scent Marking TreeWell worn Cedar tree the bears in this area use frequently. Bears seem to be attracted to the sap and scent of pines and cedars.
Cub- Scent MarkingTaught at an early age cubs follow their mother and begin to use scent marking trees. Again, using a large pine tree.
Searching for Ant Larvae (1)Image 1. Female bear attempting to pull apart rotted wood from a decaying tree stump. Using her sharp claws and strength she manages to pull a large piece off the stump...next image
Searching for Ant Larvae (2)She pulls the wood apart and inspects the inside for ant larvae before resting the wood on the forest floor...next image
Searching for Ant Larvae (3)Here she begins to eat the small quantity of ant larvae which is an important source of protien for bears.
Den inside of an old hollow poplar tree. Female bear comes out for some fresh air in early spring. She has three newborn cubs below her in the hollow cavity of the tree.
Den inside of a hollow poplar tree. Female bear positions her body to block the entrance keeping the pouring rain from reaching the interior/newborns. She has 3 newborn cubs below her in the cavity of the tree. Water inside a den can prove fatal for tiny cubs.
Den inside of a hollow poplar tree. She's about to exit the den and climb down the tree for a break from the den. It's common for a mother to leave her den briefly when it's almost time to leave for the winter. Once or twice per day for a short time before returning to tend to her cubs. She has used this tree den repeatedly over the years.
Ground den on the side of a ridge used by the same female each year when she knew she would be giving birth. She denned elsewhere with her cubs when they were a year old.
Mid April in the den. The cubs want to leave and explore their new world. It's been a long 3 months inside their den.
Ground Den female moved from another ground den after a flood threatened her den.
Ground Den under a fallen tree on the side of a mountain ridge. She gave birth to 3 cubs during this denning period. One of her cubs climbs up moms back for another view.
Ground Den under a fallen tree on the side of a mountain ridge. She gave birth to three cubs during this denning period. Cub is already giving mom advice!
Cubs are growing and have opened their eyes. Ground Den under a fallen tree on the side of a mountain ridge. She gave birth to 3 cubs during this denning period.
She's got her paws full! Cubs are growing and have opened their eyes. Ground Den under a fallen tree on the side of a mountain ridge. She gave birth to 3 cubs during this denning period.
Ground den under fallen tree/rootball. Female gave birth to 2 cubs here before moving them after the threat of a flood. She and her den site was also threatened by a prescribed burn. Firefighters made a large buffer around the den after I alerted them to her den site. This is an image of her looking out of the den on the morning while the pre-fire activity was going on nearby.
Den within a pile of fallen trees. This female made this den clearing out fallen limbs and digging small burrow while I observed her during a snow storm in the mountains. This was during the first week of January and she gave birth to her first litter of cubs here later that month. She left the den with two cubs during the first week in April.
Ground den dug under a fallen tree at the rootball. The bear has her back facing the opening. Before denning she used her paws to rake dry grass into the den to cover the bare ground for warmth.
Mom Nursing YearlingsThis mother nursed her yearlings when they were 15 months old just before she would disperce them at family break up. Black Bear cubs stay with their mothers from the time of birth until 15-16 months of age. A female bear has six teats. Four are located in the chest area and two down in her groin area.
Defending the Safety TreeMothers and their cubs will sleep at the base of a "Safety Tree". Usually these trees are pine because the bark is thick and rough allowing the cubs to grab hold and climb easily. In this image a male bear approached this mother and her cubs. The cubs literally flew up the tree to flee the danger and the mother stood her ground at the base of the tree proping her body in a manor to make her look larger than she is. This was the first time I heard a bear "hiss" at another bear. The male quickly turned and left the area. You'll notice the pieces of bark falling from the tree in the upper left corner from the cubs tearing off the bark as they quickly scaled the tree to safety.