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Archive for February 19, 2012

Abandoned Black Bear Den

Black bears are known for denning in a variety of locations, including under logs and stumps, under the branches of a fallen tree and inside caves and hollow trees. Occasionally they choose a site where they are fully exposed, such dense thickets.  This photograph of an abandoned den is just that — a depression in the middle of a stand of almost impenetrable red spruces which bears have lined with broken spruce boughs.  The imprint of two small bears (likely two year olds) in the needles, plus other nearby signs confirm that this den was inhabited fairly recently. With the mild winter we’re having and the abundance of fruits and nuts this past fall, the hibernation habits of bears may well have been altered –  I know of tracks that were spotted in January as well as this month — one typically wouldn’t expect to find bears emerging from their dens much before late March or early April.  (Notice bark is  missing on some of the nearby spruce trunks from bears biting and tearing it.)