Black Bear

It seems the black bears are tired this summer being 2nd best. They are out there in force, being spotted regularly in the front country for several weeks now. Colleagues dealing with wildlife calls dealing with young, old and mothers with cubs. Black bears are doing far better and have greater numbers and can be found in far more places across North America. More of the visitors who visit the mountains have seen a black bear already, far fewer have ever come across a brown bear in their life. Brown bears have far smaller range from their historic land they called home. The brown bear here in Banff as many other places is studied, to help them be more successful on the landscape. And when grizzlies are successful on the landscapes, it also means a vast amount of flora and fauna are doing very well on the same land. I always have to remind myself, the black bear does not care that the grizzlies are getting more attention, they only care that they have a place where they can be wild. Here’s a beautiful black bear that was easily moving through an area that needed two prescribed burns to help create habitat that both bears can call home.

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Black Bear

We are creatures of habit and wildlife are no different. I came across this medium size black bear, brown in colour, walking and stopping to get a mouthful as he went along. From past experience I had a sense what route he would be taking, I went ahead and waited for him with the window down. I could not see him, but I could see the shrubs moving as he passed by them and on occasion the sounds he made when touching the shrubs. With no one else in the area, the chances were good he was heading toward me. The hope was when he went up the short incline near me, he would see me and give me a quick look before passing by me. My goal was to have the camera focused on his face and get a picture of him  looking toward the camera. That evening it played out just as I hoped.

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Black Bear

Shepherd canadensis are their official name, but also called buffalo berry, soapberry, and by a few other names. The plant has edible berries, usually in red, but also seen in yellow and orange colours. Found across Canada, the shrub grows from a meter to two meters tall, grows in dry to moist woods, on sandy, rocky and in gravelly soils. Out here it blooms in May to June and the berries ripen in July. Elk, deer and bighorn sheep consume the leaves, while some birds and mammals eat the berries. The later includes both the brown and the black bear.

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Black Bear

This year I have been lucky enough to come across few large black bear. This male for hundred meters or so came out of the forest and walked on the road, a very confident male took his time as he walked in the open before heading back into the trees.

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Black Bear

Black Bear claws are adapted for them to easily climb trees, cubs right out of the den they are ready and capable. Unlike the long claws of the grizzly bears, the black bears have sharp, shorter and curved claws, perfect for climbing trees to get away from predators, a place to sleep, rest or to find food. Two black bears can get into a fight on a tree, the advantage would be for the bear  below, the upper bear can't fight face to face and when bears do climb down, their bottom has to be facing the bottom. In the case of this picture, the cubs were sleeping on the tree while their mother was feeding below. She climbed up the tree and woke up her cubs, the sleepy heads one by one climbed down.

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Black Bear

Lots of food out there for the bears to feed on, this male was travelling through the valley, stopping to eat. I'm sure this large male like the other large males has matting on his mind. During this time of the season they do lots of travelling, hoping to find mates. It's probably the only time of the year when they are not sleeping, when eating becomes secondary.

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Black Bear

Early on morning I saw an adult back bear eating, no sign of any other bears. A tree near the bear had something different on it, on closer inspection with my camera I saw something small and black. soon to my amazement the female adult went up to wake up her cubs, who were sleeping on the tree. One by one they came down.

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Black Bear

The buffaloberries or shepherdia crop was not good this year as last year, overall. There are some area the crop was very good and then others few berries could be found. The bears were taking advantage of the areas where they could find them, This bear was working the shrubs along a very dusty trail with few berries to be found.  Every bit helps.

Black Bear

Black Bear

The black bear does not get the same attention as the grizzly does. In North America black bear is easily the most distributed bear on the continent, and globally it's not considered threatened. In many parts of Canada you can see a black bear, most likely you have already seen a black bear. But in Banff, where we have a small growing season and much of it being rock and ice, we have about the same amount of black bears as we do grizzlies. Grizzly, the dominant predator get most of the attention in the park. The black bear is not bothered by the lack of publicity, give it some space and it goes about its merry way.

Black Bear

Black Bear

So far it has been a good season for seeing large male black bear. This one was one of the first one, he was also one of the first black bear to wake up from his winter sleep. It seems the bigger they are the slower they travel. Having lot of confidence, not too worried abut other bears or predators. I saw him later in the day slowly making his way through the valley.

Black Bear

Black Bear

A black bear family of three, they were busy eating the green vegetation that's starting to pop up on the valley's bottom. With the warmer weather the bears have more and more options for food and they are spreading out in the valley.

Until next moment,

Amar

Black Bear

Black Bear

Banff National Park has same amount of black bears as grizzlies, but the later get most of the attention. One of the main reason is the black bears are well represented across the country, so they are often seen, but not so with the grizzlies. There are less of them and now only found in western Canada. But both play an important role in the wild, as do this adult black bear.

Until next moment,

Amar

Black Bear

Black Bear

Two black bear cubs staying close, follow their mother to the next stop for food. They are seven month old and all the confidence they have, all comes from the protection of their mother. As well  their mother teaches them everything they need to survive on their own when they are pushed away next year. For now they have time to play and mother to help find food and protection.

Until next moment,

Amar 

Black Bear

Black Bear

Still lot of buffalo berries can be found and the bears continue to eat them as much as they can, daily putting on weight. This young black bear was bit nervous, probably his first summer along, was eating the berries. He would stop and look around, or watch around him as he ate. Most likely the berries will be around until frost brings them down, until then the buffet of buffalo berries will continue.

Until next moment,

Amar

Black Bear

Cinnamon Black Bear

A adult cinnamon black bear keeps his eyes on my as he enjoys his meal. There are stiff few places where the dandelions are left, but now the big focus is on shepherd (or better knows as buffaloberries} for the black and frizzly bears.

Until next moment,

Amar

Black Bear

Black Bear

A black bear on the move, I don't always have a chance to get the get the picture of the animals facing the camera. So over time I have become used to getting pictures from different perspective. In this case this black bear was moving away from me along the side of the road, I wanted to make sure I got  the picture just when one of its back paw was exposed. 

Until next moment,

Amar

Black Bear

Black Bear

With the warm weather it's a challenge seeing wildlife in the mountains, at the start of the day and at the end of the days provide better opportunities. The heat is draining for the bears, so the days are good for resting and rest the time for foraging. Saw this black bear toward the end of the day, taking a small break from eating.

Until next moment,

Amar

Black Bear

Black Bear

There are challenges for the bear and in this case how to scratch its own back. Solution, stand up and lean back onto a tree and rub, it did that several times on two different tree before he moved on.

Until next moment,

Amar

Black Bear