The folks in the Southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina are putting together their infrastructure and many homes that were flooded out (or damaged) with the wind and rain from Hurricane Idalia. It came through at the worst time. There was a full moon, causing the highest time for tides and storm surges of up to twelve feet. That hit areas in Florida where they were less than that above sea level.
Posts Tagged ‘bears’
We need some rain as most of the lakes I’ve been visiting while watching Loons (as well as my pond) are at August-levels. Several of my Loon pairs are on nests already and putting up with the blackflies along with me. I’ve had my bug jacket on many times, but it changes what you see through the binoculars. When the sun shines on the mesh, you can hardly see anything. On May 21 (the day after I got back from the Crown Point Banding Station) Karen and I went to the induction of twelve new members and three special award members into the NYS Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame at Theodore’s Restaurant in Canastota.
If bears had birthday parties, they’d all be in January and February. That’s when winter dens across the country turn into nurseries as most pregnant bears give birth to cubs weighing in at less than a pound that would easily fit into your hands. Human moms would probably envy a mother bear’s ability to give birth to one, two, or three or more tiny cubs while half-asleep.
Even though cubs are born with their eyes closed, unable to hear or smell and weak and uncoordinated, they instinctively find their mom’s nipples and start nursing. Soon the den will be filled with mom’s snores and the happy sounds of cubs humming and purring while they snuggle up to mom and their siblings and fill their tummies with a steady diet of rich, warm milk. Bear’s milk has a fat content around 33%, so nursing cubs have no problem gaining weight.
Over the next several weeks, cubs will keep eating, sleeping and growing and eventually start cautiously exploring their winter quarters. As winter slowly gives way to spring, their eyes will open, their teeth will come in and the fine hair they’re born with will be replaced by fur coats.
To find out how many cubs are usually born, what a very large litter could mean, and more fascinating facts, keep reading at BearWise.org!
Story courtesy of BearWise. Editor’s Note: Text and photo above were published in the NYS DEC’s Feb. 1 Wildlife, Fish, and Marine Life Newsletter.
Photo at top by Emily Carroll of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
North County winters pose a challenge to animals who choose to stay here, rather than migrate to warmer climates. Food is scarce. Many survive by sleeping. Well… not sleeping exactly. Hibernating.
Hibernation is a life-saving adaptation. Essentially, it’s the ability to reduce one’s energy needs when resources run low or become unavailable. Many warm-blooded animals would die of starvation if it wasn’t for their ability to hibernate.
Very Few Animals are ‘True’ Hibernators
The term hibernation is commonly applied to all types of winter dormancy. But ‘true’ hibernators enter hibernation at the same time every year, regardless of the outside temperature or availability of food. During ‘true’ hibernation, body temperature is lowered to slightly above that of the temperature in the animal’s lair. Respiration is reduced to just a few breaths per minute. Heartbeat becomes barely distinguishable.
At Adirondack Wildlife, we are receiving one or two calls a day about reportedly orphaned bear cubs, and since we have experience with both wild and captive-bred bears, and since bear activity is very seasonal in nature, here is what we believe is happening. Black bear hibernation is not about the cooler temperatures of winter, but rather the availability of food.
While we humans tend to want to be slim and attractive, bears want to be as fat as possible to help them survive the winter months. Bears grow very thick coats to neutralize the cold, and they spend most of the Fall taking on as many calories as they can, building up their weight, and slowly metabolizing the excess weight over the winter months.
Hurricane Ian has been the big news this week as it hit the west coast of Florida as a category four hurricane, just a couple miles an hour short of being a [category] five right at Fort Myers after passing over Sanibel Island. This island has been our winter getaway for over twenty years now during mud season, the month of April. That is when many of the birds that go south to South America (and some of the islands south of there) return north, and make Sanibel their stopover place after crossing the Gulf of Mexico.
It will not be our getaway this spring as it was hit extremely hard during the storm and the bridge going there from Fort Meyers was washed through in several places, making it impossible to drive there. Much of the power and water systems were also damaged. The condominium that we stay in at Sandalfoot on East Gulf Drive had the roof taken off, as did part of the back unit there. I’m sure the front units had water go right through them with a twelve-to-fifteen-foot tidal surge that went over the entire island.
More than of the state’s bear population lives in the Adirondack region. So it’s no big surprise to have some bear/human interactions in our communities.
This year, however, the activity is either on the rise or the number of “problem bears” has increased. It’s not good news, regardless, as it has resulted in a higher number of dead bears. So far in 2022, the DEC has euthanized 16 bears in northern New York, compared to just two last year.
It’s an issue we’re looking further into and invite you to share your stories. Have you had a negative bear encounter? What steps do you take to “bear proof” your home and yard? What are your thoughts on euthanization? Should we be doing more to educate visitors about bears? Send your thoughts to me at email@example.com or leave a comment here.
Photo: Black bear in Raquette Lake by Jeff Nadler, archive photo.
On April 5, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminded New Yorkers to take down bird feeders and secure garbage to avoid potential conflicts with black bears.
Bears are emerging from their dens, and now is the time to take steps to reduce potential conflicts throughout the spring and summer. Bird feeders, unsecured garbage, and outdoor pet and livestock feed can attract bears and lead to potential conflicts for homeowners. Repeated access to bird feeders and garbage can make bears bolder, seeking additional sources of human-related foods inside vehicles or buildings, particularly when natural foods are scarce.
Feeding bears intentionally is illegal. Unintentional feeding through bird feeders and unsecured garbage also has consequences for communities and may ultimately be deadly for the bear if the bear becomes a greater threat to people and property after exposure to these sources of food. It is important to properly manage attractants to avoid human-bear conflicts.
The DEC advises everyone residing in or visiting bear country (most of upstate New York) to remove any attractants. People should take down bird feeders and clean up any remaining bird seed now, begin storing garbage inside secure buildings until the morning of collection, and feed pets indoors. By taking these simple steps, New Yorkers can help ensure bears will find food naturally, which protects people, property, and bears.
For more information, please visit DEC’s webpage on reducing human-bear conflicts.
An interview with DEC Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Hurst discussing ways to avoid human-bear conflicts and a video of a bear destroying a bird feeder can be found on the DEC’s website, interview/video coverage courtesy of the NYS DEC.
Photo at top: Black bear in Raquette Lake. Photo by Jeff Nadler, archive photo.
The black bear’s sleek black coat and seven-foot frame used to symbolize Adirondack wilderness. The black bear could be found munching on berries or grabbing fish from a stream. Today, black bears in the High Peaks scavenge for food left out by backpackers and hikers. Black bears are opportunist hunters and will eat whatever is the easiest to find. Why bother hunting when a human has a feast prepared?
Part III: The Bear Dance
July 28th-8am-My cell phone rang. It was Ray. “Hey- got a call last night from my neighbor- he’s camped on site 66, just above us. He said “BEAR!” Came about 4am. He says they tried yelling at it, but it completely ignored them. So they shot fireworks at it- That’s all they had. He said he thought there might be two. They saw the small one. I’ve got the chickens and the pontoon boat- what’s the plan?”
“Robin, Mom and I will meet you at the State Bridge at 11. We’ll go cook chickens. Anyone staying with you tonight? You’re gonna have bears.”
Part II : Bear Watch
Editor’s note: This is part two of a three-part series. Click here for Part 1
July 12, late afternoon- my phone rang. It was Ray. “Hey- listen, the only day I can get in here overnight this weekend is Saturday- just me- what’s your plan?”
He seemed a little uneased at the prospect of a night in camp alone. I couldn’t blame him. We’d already been visited 3 times by the bear. Twice in one night. Twice while we were there.
“I’ll be there on Saturday. I’ll row in- late evening. We’ll fish, camp out in the lean to, build a bonfire, and fend off the bears.”
Public Encouraged to Remove Birdfeeders, Feed Pets Indoors
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds New Yorkers to avoid conflicts with bears by taking down bird feeders and securing garbage.
DEC has already received a few reports of bear sightings across the state. As bears emerge from their dens, they use their sensitive noses to find food. Human-related food sources such as bird feeders, pet food, and garbage can attract bears and lead to potential conflicts. Feeding bears either intentionally, which is illegal, or unintentionally through careless property management, has consequences for entire communities, as well as the bears themselves.
Say what you will about Adirondack bears, but they have their dignity. They may trash your camp, scare the city folk and steal your salmon sandwich, but at least they don’t hide out in the bowels, so to speak, of ADK privies, lying in wait for the next passing derriere to present itself for a quick snack.
At least not that we know of. At least not yet. Let’s hope bears can’t read.
An extremely disturbing story was reported by the Associated Press in late February about an Alaskan woman visiting an outhouse and — well, best let her tell it: “I got out there and sat down on the toilet and immediately something bit my butt right as I sat down. I jumped up and I screamed when it happened.”
No kidding. And if you’re the bear, you’re lucky that’s all she did.
The young woman was wounded, but not badly, and her brother Erik assumed it was a squirrel or a mink that had done the damage. So he shined his headlamp down the pit and — well, long story short, for the second time that morning someone ran screaming from the outhouse.
Both sister and brother said it was a miracle her injuries weren’t more severe. That should be obvious. The bear was at the bottom of an outhouse, so he couldn’t have been in a very good mood to begin with. I know I wouldn’t have been. Then someone comes along and moons him, and you have to figure that’s the last straw.
Bear Hunting Season Opens Sept. 19 in Northern New York
DEC regulates black bear hunting to manage populations toward levels that are acceptable to the public. Information about black bear hunting in New York, including season dates regulations, is available on DEC’s website. Additionally, DEC’s booklet Hunting the Black Bear in New York (PDF), includes tips on bear hunting and proper care of harvested bears.
In my weekly “Adk News Briefing” newsletter, I asked readers to share stories of backcountry bear encounters. Here are a few that came in via email (and one was kind enough to share some skat photos too):
A DIFFERENT KIND OF EXPOSURE: My wife Brenda and I have been wilderness camping for forty years in the Daks. We advanced from backpacking to canoe camping to small boat camping over many years. We finally got a pontoon boat so we could take our two dogs and as many “creature comforts” as we wanted. One of our favorite boat-in camping lakes is Lower Saranac. In 2018 we received a notice from DEC prior to our departure that there was a bear problem. We were used to bears in our back yard in Pennsylvania so we didn’t give it a second thought. We had an aluminum clad lockable box to store our 50 pounds (two other couples were going to join us later) of food.
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