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Exploring With Senses

4-6-18 black bear yearling on back 1058The yearlings were constantly engaged in exploration and play that makes use of all of their senses – playing with sticks, needles and anything else they can find to manipulate with their huge paws, chewing saplings, smelling everything from chewed sticks to each other’s scat, clawing, biting and rubbing on tree trunks, and even approaching me in order to see exactly who and what I am. (Several times I had to shoo one of them away, for fear their mother might object to its close proximity to me.) Some of this exploration serves as the beginning of scent-marking that they will use to communicate with other bears their entire lives, while some of it appears to be just plain fun.

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23 responses

  1. Hi Mary
    Love these photos! Are they from the previous year or from THIS year?

    March 30, 2018 at 7:13 am

    • They are from one year ago, exactly! Bears are coming out of hibernation this year, but haven’t run into any!

      March 30, 2018 at 7:20 am

  2. Liz Nelson

    These bear photos are wonderful! Thank you.

    March 30, 2018 at 7:24 am

  3. Alice Pratt

    What a good Mommy Bear letting her cubbies be outdoors, playing.

    March 30, 2018 at 7:28 am

  4. susan

    Please be careful!

    Sue Carr

    March 30, 2018 at 7:52 am

  5. Mary, I am loving the evolution of your story with these bears! What a riot! I am laughing that you have to shooo them away, and wisely so for you and them. It was a gift, I am thrilled you were there and thank you so much for sharing this.

    March 30, 2018 at 8:11 am

  6. Suzanne Weinberg

    This photo reminds me of one you posted a couple years back of Otis with his face scrunched into a leaf, sniffing it and feeling it. Wonderful bear pics! What an experience that must have been!

    March 30, 2018 at 8:12 am

  7. Rosemarie Hoppe-Wilhelm

    Thank you for these wonderful photos. What a gift this mother bear gave to you, and us, by allowing you to stay. But I have one question – how close were you??

    March 30, 2018 at 8:24 am

  8. Chris

    Incredible, Mary! Thank you for posting this amazing series.

    March 30, 2018 at 9:08 am

  9. Susan

    Mary, your photos and your continuing account of your experience with this bear family are a joy to see and read. When I start my day with these posts, I smile, inside and out, for the rest of the day. Thank you for sharing with us.

    March 30, 2018 at 9:28 am

  10. faith bieler

    Mary, I am so delighted and astounded that you dare to be so close to this bear family
    and that the Mother bear tolerates it..doesn’t shoot the babies up a tree let alone attack you! Thank you for this adventure with you! Faith

    March 30, 2018 at 9:29 am

  11. Your bear posts are delightful! I am enjoying them. Because of the bears in my neighborhood (which I don’t see but others have), my bird feeders are now down for the bear season.

    March 30, 2018 at 9:34 am


    Surprise! Look who greeted us when we were cleaning out our bird boxes! Jen and Fred Schad

    March 30, 2018 at 9:51 am

    • Afraid you have to email me in order for me to see photos!

      March 30, 2018 at 12:13 pm

  13. Melissa Zeiger

    Dear Mary, these are spectacular photos. And you are a brave woman!

    March 30, 2018 at 9:58 am


    What a peak experience…a True honor. They obviously recognized your kinship. Thank you for sharing it with us!!

    March 30, 2018 at 10:05 am

  15. Char Delabar

    This is so cute.


    March 30, 2018 at 6:39 pm

  16. Hi Mary…Definite bear foot prints in my backyard two nights ago! Exciting, but now bird feeders are all down. How can I regularly receive your wonderful blog? I did for a while, but haven’t for a year or so. Friend sent me your current entry…so wonderful! Thanks!

    March 31, 2018 at 8:11 am

    • Just go to my blog and click on “Sign Me Up” and you should be all set once you give them your email address!

      April 3, 2018 at 4:43 pm

  17. judilindsey


    Such a s delightful photo of baby bear!

    Think spring!

    Judi 🙂


    March 31, 2018 at 10:55 am

  18. Joey Corcoran

    This is so dear. So glad to receive your posts. And plan to get your book when I’m next in a bookstore. Joey Corcoran


    April 4, 2018 at 11:31 am

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