Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bear Trees a Bear

Yesterday morning, this black bear was up in our pine tree. Actually, the bear is about forty feet up, looking down at me as I stood at the base of the tree taking his picture.

So what is a black bear doing in our tree?

The story starts with our dog, who happens to be named Bear. When we picked him up from the Pasadena Human Society he was described as part Akita. We read that Akitas were bred for bear hunting. Hence the name Bear. He's still a puppy, but is going to be a pretty big guy.
Yesterday at about 5:30 am, Bear started barking and heading for the back door. He and I walked outside to check things out. We saw the bear standing about 15 feet from us next to a pine tree. The bear reacted in a flash by scrambling up the tree. I could hear the scratching noise of his claws digging into the trunk as he climbed. He went straight up to some limbs about forty feet off the ground.
This picture gives you an idea of how high the bear climbed. If you look carefully you can see the bear resting on the second set of limbs up from the ground.

Though he kept track of us (of course I woke everyone up to come out and see the bear in the tree), the bear did not seem concerned. He nonchalantly hung out.
He stood on one limb.

Then he stood on another limb.

Then he went back to the other limb and sniffed around in the pine.

Then he put his head down and went to sleep.
What a way to start the day!

The Bear Facts

According to the Los Angeles Almanac, 150-500 black bears currently roam the Angeles National Forest. Interestingly, black bears are not native to our local mountains. The bear native to our area was the grizzly. However, the fierce grizzlies were eradicated by at least 1916. Some time later, authorities wanted to reintroduce bears to our local mountains. Instead of grizzlies, they chose the kinder gentler black bear. In 1933, Yosemite rangers brought in 11 black bears who are the forebears of our current bear population.
Black bears are omnivores, but eat mostly vegetation. Reportedly their adult weight can range from 90 to 600 pounds. They can run up to 30 mph, are good swimmers and great climbers. With their upright ears, black bears are the inspiration for teddy bears and for Winnie the Pooh.
In foothill areas bears are sometimes reported coming down into the neighborhoods in search of food. This seems true particularly on trash day. We've seen signs of bears around our house before -- a broken fence, trash cans knocked down and a some really foul bear remains. But, I never expected to have this kind of encounter!


BearWishes said...

Wow, excellent pictures of the bear in a tree. I recently started my blog and am so envious of these great shots.

So glad all are ok and Bear, the dog that is, did what dogs will do without any harm to anyone involved.

My Bo, an Airedale, also bred to hunt bear, recently treed his first bear. Unfortunately, not a camera in sight.

Cafe Pasadena said...

So why was the bear paying you a visit? Probably customer or client related.

Michael Coppess said...

Thanks for the nice comments BW. And great shot on your blog of the bear hanging on the line.

Thanks for reading Cafe! I suspect the bear was just passing through our yard on his morning rounds. We have been aware of bear(s)in the neighborhood, but this is the first time I actually saw one.