One of my biggest goals with my excursion to the Canadian Rockies was to capture decent images of a Grizzly Bear – something that has eluded me over the years. The opportunities are rare and when I have had them, conditions were less than ideal and the images disappointing.
The fates finally took mercy on me and gave me a good opportunity on Saturday, June 25th in Banff National Park. While driving along the Trans-Canada Highway we spotted this massive guy walking along in an open area, seemingly oblivious to the traffic flying along nearby.
Coming to a fast stop I quickly pointed my camera and began clicking away. He gave me a number of good poses and while he was a good ways away necessitating heavy cropping of the images, the images are the best I have ever captured of this North American monster.
Unfortunately this was the only real chance I had at photographing one during the trip as we saw only one other and that one was too far off to get worthwhile pics.
An image for #TBT showing a Black Bear sow as she descends the rocky slopes of Waterton Canyon back in August. Her and her two cubs put on one heck of a show that day in an experience I will never forget.
Bears should be emerging from their winter dens now and no doubt will be very hungry after their long slumber. I’m pinning my hopes of seeing bears this year on a trip to the northern Rockies? in a couple of months. I just have to hope the bruins cooperate!
Going back to August for this series on a day in Waterton Canyon when I was observing a Black Bear sow and her two cubs. The trio had worked their way down to the South Platte River and while the female and one of the cubs crossed the river without a problem, one of the little ones was hesitant to cross.
Not realizing this, mom and the one cub continued on their journey further up the river. The scared one did finally cross the river but by the time it did, mom was nowhere in sight due to the thick growth along the river banks. Clearly scared, the cub began calling for its mom over and over.
The sow heard the cries and took off running, backtracking to find her offspring. They did eventually find each other and Mom led the lost one along, undoubtedly paying a bit more attention to where her little ones were at.
A somewhat heart-wrenching scene that unfolded in August but thankfully ended well. This sow and her two cubs were walking around a water diversion structure in Waterton Canyon, Colorado back in August.
Mom was able to easily scale the wall but it was far too tall for her cubs. One young one figured out a way around but the other struggled to figure it out.
For 15 minutes or so, it cried incessantly, pacing back and forth along the wall, trying unsuccessfully to scale it. Mom didn’t seem to understand why her little one couldn’t make it over.
Eventually the little one figured out where its sibling had gotten around and the family was reunited and headed off into the forest. It was tough to watch and listen to the cub as it was clearly stressed about the separation from its mother but also very pleasing to see them back together in the end.
Back in August I was observing this pretty lady and her two cubs as they walked along the South Platte River. The Black Bear sow suddenly took a swipe at the water and just like that, she had a quick meal which she tossed up onto the shore. A good day for the bears, not so much for the fish.
Black Bears normally eat grasses, roots, and berries but every now and then dine on fish and carrion. They of course also easily develop a taste for human food and trash thus leading to many human / bear conflicts when the bears choose the easy meal we provide due to our own poor care and stewardship.
As summer wound down, bear activity along Colorado’s Front Range picked up. The bears were having a difficult time finding the food they needed to fatten up for winter so they were venturing into areas they normally avoid.
Such was the case with this male cinnamon black bear toward the end of August. He was one of a number of bears and cubs that were frequenting Waterton Canyon, a popular recreation area with a trail into the foothills. Normally the bears would avoid humans but this year has been different and in fact, the week after I took these pictures the canyon was closed and remains closed today due to the danger.
This boar was hanging out near a sow and her two cubs when he decided to come down to the river for a drink and to cool off. While he looks close, he was a good ways away as I was across the river and up an embankment.
Spending time taking pictures of bears is an absolute thrill to say the least. Getting pictures of one of the cubs though has its share of, “Awww, how cute!” moments. Such was the case with this little one. It was following it’s mom as she worked her way down Waterton Canyon, Colorado and across the South Platte River.
This black bear sow was busy keeping close watch on her two little ones a few weeks back. She was absolutely beautiful as she watched us humans from above then worked her way down the hill to get to the South Platte River near Denver, Colorado, USA. I of course gave her and the cubs a wide berth. 😉
On a very hot afternoon in the Colorado foothills, this little one decided to take a break from foraging. It sat quietly, looking around while its sibling and mom continued eating nearby.
The American Black Bear is North America’s smallest but most widespread bear. It can be found in 40 states and much of Canada. Taken southwest of Denver, Colorado.
All mothers know they have a to keep close watch on their little ones lest they get themselves into trouble. This female Black Bear was no different.
She was eating acorns off of trees at the top of a hill and as she did, her cubs were exploring the area below. Sensing they might be straying too far, she stood tall to get a good look and check up on them.
I was ecstatic to be able to capture the moment and while I was a safe distance away, I have to admit it was a bit intimidating getting a view of just how big she was.
The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) is the only bear known to be currently found in Colorado. They can be 5 to 6 feet long and weigh 200 to 600 pounds with males being larger than females.
Image taken in the foothills southwest of Denver.