Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bear Business

UP A TREEWe knew from our Spring visit that the Black Bears had a bumper crop of cubs.  There are twins and triplets everywhere.  Well the bears have come home to roost –literally.
Unlike last year the “soft mast” crops ( wild blackberries, blueberries and cherries) are way down this summer.  The cherries around Cades Cove are up at 2500 feet so if you are hiking up there in August, look out.  This year, no cherries and really hungry bears returned to the the lower elevations famished.  Now they are into the acorns and Oak trees all over the Cove have little black acrobats clamoring around. Three closely spaced oaks right along the road has had bears in it for two days -- Seven on Monday and three today.  Cars must pass right under them and dodge broken limbs and other debris.  Rangers on “bear Jam” patrol  spend all day moving traffic along and keeping shutterbugs at bay while the bears gorge, nap, repeat. Other bear jams pop up all around the cove.  To our eyes, the ”hard mast” (acorns, walnuts and other nuts) doesn’t look heavy at all.  Walnut trees along the roads seem empty and this does not bode well for our furry friends putting on weight for the winter.  Next year, lots of year old bear “teenagers”  Oh boy!
bear jam

This tiny little mama has three – “himself” is still 35 feet up that oak tree.

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