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    • CommentAuthoreiguoc
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2011 edited

    Update March 16, 2011 – 9:03 PM CDT

    by Lily the Black Bear on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 12:15am

    A Cub Ventures Outside!


    Another first for Den Cam viewers—a cub wandered far enough outside the den to be caught on the PTZ camera!  The image is not clear enough to determine which cub it is – but we’ll likely see more cub adventures in the coming days.  The warm weather is slated to continue.

     Lily and Hope seemed to be checking on various trees outside the den.  At one point Lily climbed several feet up a small tree, bit the trunk with her teeth, and swung around to hang before dropping to the ground.  This is a move often employed to break small trees down; however, Lily did not succeed in breaking this one.  Lynn saw her sniffing a willow tree in that general area when he visited the den last week.  Willow catkins are one of the first foods available to bears in the spring.  The catkin buds may be swelling with the warm weather we’ve been having recently, and, if they are, Lily’s nose knows!

     Video of some of today’s den adventures is online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8PLOOMuDQE

    • CommentAuthoreiguoc
    • CommentTimeMar 18th 2011

    With snow melting in the balmy weather (45 F), it was time for a den check to see if flooding has started and to put a radio-collar on Lily.  Her days in that low-lying den are numbered and we can’t risk her moving the family out without a radio-collar. Thisopportunity to closely observe a mixed-age litter is unprecedented. We can learn so much.

    Lily_Hope_and_cubs_outside_den_-_20110317No problems in the den yet.  Lily’s underside is dry.  The snow on top of the den is melting and dripping down around the entrance. This dampens Lily’s back as she crawls in and out—Hope’s too—but it is pretty superficial dampness. When the cubs were alone in the den earlier today we noticed the back wall of the den is dark from moisture, but the bed remains dry.

    All the bears were gems.  The cubs surprised us by coming out too, giving us the first good views of them. Eventually they settled in to nurse just outside the entrance. Jason is going to have black fur, not brown.  He is only slightly lighter than Faith but has a very light face.  He looks a lot like Lily did at his age, so we expect him to look a lot like her with a light muzzle when he grows up.  We guessed their weights at three and a half pounds each.  The both nursed on the left side of Lily’s chest like those were 'their' nipples—Faith on the top one and Jason on the lower one.  We suspect Hope has claimed the two on the other side of Lily's chest.  Hope almost nursed with them and went for the right set of nipples but then decided to go back in the den.

    Jason_and_Faith_-_20110317We tried to wipe off the lens and either we just made it worse or one of the bears goobered it up before we even got back to the field station.  The camera is inside the den and the camera tube needs to be pulled out for us to reach the lens. Those of you watching us work must have thought we were statues as we stood still and patiently waited for the ‘right time’ to move the tube—the time when the bears were comfortable. We’ll keep trying.  Not only do we all want to see, but the Den-watch Team has to have a clear view to gather solid, publishable data.  And this is the time of year when it is imperative to spend time at the den if we are to get calm behavioral data from the cubs this spring and summer.

    The first video of today's den visit has been posted by 'bearstudy' at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsDdwFzg9vg .

    • CommentAuthoreiguoc
    • CommentTimeMar 20th 2011

    Update March 19, 2011 – 8:42 PM CST

    by Lily the Black Bear on Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 12:14am

    A Family Outing


    Lily’s whole family spent time outside again today.  The cubs began coming out at 3 days of age earlier than Hope did, which fits with the feeling that Faith and Jason are developing faster than Hope did.  They first came out on the 17th of March compared with the 21st for Hope.  We say 3 days of age earlier because Faith and Jason were born a day earlier than Hope. 

    Lily fans are wondering if we will put a collar on Hope.   We don’t know.  The 2 unknowns are if Hope becomes more cooperative about collaring and if she remains with Lily for another year, making it unnecessary to radio-collar her this year.  This will give us a year to see if we can get her more comfortable with the idea of collaring.  She is “the untouchable one,” after all. 


    She is naughty, too.  She licked the lens again even though we pushed it a couple inches farther into the pipe.  She has a long sticky tongue, of course, for licking up ant pupae and grasping other foods in a miraculous-looking manner.  Just before she put the den back into blurry obscurity, Hope showed us the inside of her mouth and her new canine teeth growing in nicely.  The good growth she showed us contrasts with underfed bears that sometimes retain their baby canines to this age.   



    We wondered along with you why Lily would make a bed outside Thursday night.  We thought of water in the den, but Lily’s underside was dry when she came out of the den earlier that day, and the usual response to water is to gather more bedding.  The most likely reason for the bed outside is that on these balmy days it is actually warmer outside the den than in.  The frost continues to inch deeper and deeper into the ground as winter progresses and this keeps the den cold long after the air begins to warm in spring.  The high temperature for Thursday—the day Lily dug the bed outside—was 46 F, and the low was a warm 35 F.  Balmy temperatures indeed for bears with full winter coats!



    Today Hope found a few alder catkins and buds to eat.  Lily dug down through the snow to the soil underneath.  We wonder what she found there.  We scanned the PTZ camera to locate Lily when we lost track of her and were surprised to find her inspecting the camera when we made it back around.  The camera likely makes a bit of noise as it moves and that attracted her attention.  Lily and Hope ventured away from the den a ways in the direction of a large cedar which is a potential bed tree.  Lily was ‘post holing’ through the snow with Hope following in her footsteps.  Videos from today will be posted by ‘bearstudy’ on YouTube.  The first is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OvjyTSBzYo.  Others will follow so check back later.  Better yet, subscribe to ‘bearstudy’ on YouTube!
    • CommentAuthoreiguoc
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2011

    New link from March 21 All the bears spent time out yesterday


    • CommentAuthoreiguoc
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2011 edited
    • CommentAuthoreiguoc
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2011 edited

    Big day at the den

    Faith snoozing in the sun

    On a day like today we are glad we have you to share all this with.

    Lily snoozing in sun - puddle in foreground
    We wondered why Lily was spending so much time outside the den.    The first thing we saw when we got to the den was a puddle just outside. A picture inside the den revealed Faith and Jason high and dry but dampness where Lily would normally lie and wetness seeping in through the back wall. Maybe that helps explain not only why Lily spends so much time outside but why there was so much squawking in the den last night when the cubs tried to settle down and nurse under Lily.
    Faith and Jason (facing camera) in den

    While we were there, little Faith came out and went to sleep in the sun on top of a mound. She is a sweetheart. Lily came and checked her many times between bouts of play with Hope.

    Faith licked the same willow sapling that Lily licked on camera yesterday, but we couldn’t see any sap running.

    Faith (facing camera) and Jason

    Lily was good enough to show us where the latrine is 25 feet from the den, which allowed us to collect both fresh and older fecal plug material. The latrine was down a hole dug in the snow about 8-10 inches in diameter. Very tidy. Some of the scat was larger in diameter, some smaller, making us think both Lily and Hope had defecated there. We should have taken a picture. We’ve never had an opportunity to see such a thing before.

    Jason climbing!
    Jason never showed. He was bright-eyed in the picture in the den but he must have fallen asleep. Both cubs were active for a long time outside the den before we got there.  Jason had climbed a few inches up a tree earlier and Faith climbed even higher while we were there.

    Contrary to what we said before, now that a few patches of bare ground are showing up we are seeing areas of high ground in the vicinity of the den.

      We think that as soon as both cubs can follow well enough they will move to higher ground. That will likely be a few days yet. We had earlier thought these cubs were developing faster than Hope did. Now we wonder. We are only 5 days from when Lily and Hope moved several hundred yards from their den last year. We’ll see how well the cubs do in the next few days.
    • CommentAuthoreiguoc
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2011
    March 28
    Taped today around noon . Some real rough housing going on with Hope & poor Jason while Faith sleeps just behind Hopes big butt
    • CommentAuthoreiguoc
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2011 edited

    A few pics of Jason & faith

    1) March 28

    2) March 30

    3) March 31

    Also Jason & faith both took turns climbing trees





      022 Mar. 28 Jason sleeping on faith.jpg
      024 Mar. 30 14.16.jpg
      026 Mar. 31 12.16.jpg