Yesterday afternoon I was visited by a black bear. It was just rambling through yards looking for overflowing garbage cans. Alas, it found little other than a few dandelions at my place.
It was amiable, generally ignoring my tagging along and taking its picture. It knew I was there, but it wasn’t concerned. It wasn’t until I looked at the pictures that I realized that this bear wore a blaze.
A blaze is the whitish V-shaped mark on its chest. A large proportion of the black bears in the east wear a blaze; very few in the west do. The last local black bear that I saw sporting a blaze was five years ago.
At one point, it stopped and munched on a dandelion, but the pickings were slim.
Nevertheless, it now and then travelled with its mouth open trying to find something.
Before vanishing into a neighbour’s yard, it stopped and looked back at me as if to say, “You could have been more helpful.”
Beautifully candid images, Alistair. Thank you. They speak to this animal’s decidedly omnivorous diet. Seeing it chow down on silica-rich horsetails in your second last photo made me think of naturalist John Muir’s quote about bears, “To him almost everything is food except granite.”
Hi…second last pic, the bear with it`s mouth open – I think I am seeing the nose nostrils pulled back and up from the projecting snout. I would never know this is the way they can keep their nostrils/nose out of the whatever they are chewing on, or eating. Your pic captures this action – is it something you have seen before, and isn`t notable..? In typical pics of a bears face or head – the nose appears to be right at the front/top of the mouth. I find it pretty interesting to see, and to realize. Further, other animals with similar nose/mouth features must be able to do this as well…?
Allan, I suspect you are correct: it is the flehmen response.
Aw, lucky you Alistair. I too was fortunate to see our first bear sighting in the Georama neighbourhood, three weeks ago. Looked like a healthy male bear, approached my front window garden below, then made his way behind a few houses across the road. I was thrilled to see him, but had nothing for him to eat. They are one of Natures’s many wonderful gifts.