September Grizzly Encounter

Lots of berries in the valley bottoms, the bears are very busy cleaning house and will be moving up hill in search of more berries. This bear was at over 2,000 metres and is on the eastern side of the continental divide.

Photo by J.Borno

Unfortunately for bears on the eastern side of the Rockies, there is no salmon. They must rely on other sources of food.

Photo by J.Borno

The eastern slopes has a very limited berry selection, berries like buffaloberry begin to ripen in mid-August. This is the peak feeding season. Since buffaloberries have only a single seed, biologists can count the seeds in scats and get a great idea of the number of berries ingested. Bears will eat for up to 16 hour/day during this peak season and finally their weight begins to rise.

Photo by J.Borno

They may feed on 50,000-200,000 buffaloberries each day. In places like Banff National Park, where the buffaloberry is plentiful, researchers have reported as many as 9 grizzlies within 3.1 sq. km. Huckleberries are also popular, along with sarsaparilla.

Photo by J.Borno

As the berries begin to fall from the branch and with the approach of cold weather, grizzly bears begin to dig again for Hedysarum roots and related tubers until they head into their dens for the winter.

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