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Vegetation - the Dietary Mainstay

Vegetation - the Dietary Mainstay

Vegetation is the primary bear food in northeastern Minnesota when all seasons are considered.  In April, flower parts of aspen, willow,...

Berries - a Critical Food

Berries - a Critical Food

Berries are important foods throughout the black bear range.  The most commonly eaten berries in northeastern Minnesota are sarsaparilla...

Ant Brood - an Important Food

Ant Brood - an Important Food

Ant specialists refer to ant larvae and pupae as "brood."  These digestible clumps of fat and protein are the main source of animal protein...

Hazelnuts - a Favorite Food

Hazelnuts - a Favorite Food

Hazelnuts are one of the most important and preferred bear foods in northeastern Minnesota.  Across North America, availability of hard mast...

Animal Protein

Animal Protein

Insects and animal matter are less than 10% of the annual black bear diet around Ely and across most of North America. Across America, exceptions...

Forest Tent Caterpillars

Forest Tent Caterpillars

In outbreak years, caterpillars usually hatch in May, defoliate huge areas, and pupate 5-6 weeks later in June or early July.  As the...

What do bears like to eat in a beehive?

What do bears like to eat in a beehive?

Although bears prefer immature bees, they also will eat honey, depending upon the alternatives. Honey is mostly sugar with an average composition...

Effects of Food on Survival

Effects of Food on Survival

Effects of food on cub growth and survival: Starvation is the main cause of death for black bear cubs around Ely. By fall, cubs can weigh 15 to...

Adaptations for Obtaining Food

Adaptations for Obtaining Food

A keen sense of smell Strong curved claws for climbing trees and ripping logs Strength for turning over rocks and logs to get colonial...

Limitations

Limitations

Predation:  The stocky body that gives black bears strength and minimizes heat loss makes them a poor predator.  The stocky, insulated...

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Feeding Sign

feeding_bear-nest_beech2_450x600.jpg

Bear "nests" are clusters of broken branches from feeding and are not where bears rest.  They are made when a bear sits in a crotch of the tree and pulls branches closer to eat catkins, buds, leaves, fruit, or nuts. 

Bear Feeding Sign:

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Broken branches beneath trees that produce bear foods.  Bears climb up and bite branches off and drop them or carry them down.  Look for claw and tooth marks on the branches and the tree trunks.
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Broken branches on small trees that produce bear foods.  In northeastern Minnesota, look for places bears were eating willow catkins, mountain-ash berries, juneberries, cherries, and wild plums.  Bears pull the branches down, and some of them break.
feeding_on_autumn_olive.jpg Disheveled food producing bushes, often with bear paths winding among them.  In northeastern Minnesota, check patches of hazelnut, dogwood, highbush cranberry, and wild plum bushes, among others.
yearling_lifting_rock.jpg Rocks turned over to get ant pupae and larvae.
bear_getting_ant_pupae.jpg Logs and stumps torn open to reach ant colonies or grubs.
bear_digging_junebeetle_larvae.jpg Torn up sod to find june beetle grubs.
feeding_acorns.jpg Leaves raked to get fallen nuts and acorns.
feeding_clover.jpg Clipped vegetation.  In northeastern Minnesota, check grass beside forest roads or in ash swamps.  Check roadside clover and dandelions and a variety of other plants bears eat in season.
feeding_cattail.jpg

Torn up aquatic plants where bears ate cattails, water-parsnip roots, or wild calla.

 

 

  

 

Also see Black Bear Sign Slideshow on menu bar.

 

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