Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Black Bears

I've lived in the Shire quite a while,
but I can't recall ever hearing much about black bears in our early years here.
It seems as development has encroached on the black bear habitat,
more bear-human encounters are being reported.
Here's a file photo from The Virginian-Pilot newspaper of a black bear:

I think the bear in the previous photo looks like a large dog,
but black bears grow to 150-250 lbs. That's a lot of bear grease.
(The Virginian-Pilot is a good source for black bear stories.
You can access the newspaper at www.pilotonline.com.)

One of my friends saw a black bear on the Dismal Swamp Nature Trail
a couple of years ago.
And last summer, a black bear made off with a couple of backyard bird feeders
in a neighborhood in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Unlike raccoons, which favor a lift and drop approach to feeder thieving,
black bears apparently prefer to carry their prize a safe distance
before enjoying the spoils,
as the homeowner reported a trail of birdseed was the only thing left.

Recently, a friend of my husband's spotted a black bear 
roaming along a treeline in Surry County 
and managed to get a couple of photos.
In this first photo, the bear is nearly invisible 
in the upper right corner, toward the center:
Photo credit: Claiborne

In this photo, it's moved away from the trees, into the cornfield:
Photo Credit: Claiborne

And finally, the bear makes its way along the road:
Photo Credit: Claiborne

Black bear sightings are so common in Virginia,
has a long list of do's and don'ts for handling a bear encounter;
including this little gem for what to do when a black bear enters your camp tent:
"if a bear enters your tent, fight back and yell."
The fighting back part seems a little chance-y,
but the yelling part? Uh, yeah.

No comments: