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Okay, so the groundhog may have lied, or, at least, led us slightly astray regarding the end of winter. It seems that March came in like a lion with some moderate, ice-laden storms followed by cold days with lows in the single digits. Spring, and all the emergence of life that follows, is just around the corner, and the inclination is to spend a bit more time indoors than outdoors when the temperature is just above zero.
Fortunately, you can follow some of the wildlife happenings that are occurring at the moment from the comfort of your den. The increasing use of remote monitoring technology, or “nest-cams”, as some installations are called, allows you to stream video and audio from remote habits as far as five miles to 5,000 miles away from your computer screen. One example of a nest-cam is the Hanover, PA eagle’s nest. It gets a lot of viewing hits from our region and is provided by the PA Game Commission (PGC).
During the past week, the PGC announced a new addition to its array of wildlife cameras. A bear-cam has been installed at the site of an improvised bear den, which happens to be under a homeowner’s porch in Monroe County. For the bear’s protection and the privacy of the homeowner, the exact location has not been disclosed. The homeowner agreed to the camera installation and some education from the PGC about having a hibernating bear under the porch. The camera was installed during the previous fall while the female was away from the den, foraging food for the upcoming winter hibernation.
A couple of days before this column went to press, it has been determined that there is at least one cub with the female adult (or sow). This cub was born in January and has nursed from its mother and steadily gained weight.
The female is estimated to be about 225 pounds, so she takes up most of the picture as she sleeps, awakening several times a day to groom the cubs and change position. As March progresses, there should be more activity, and more of a chance to see additional cubs if they are present.
Cubs, along with the female adult, will emerge early in April. Between now and then, there should be increased activity as the cub and any siblings change positions and vocalize.
To see the bear-cam, go to www.bit.ly/pabearcam. To listen to a nursing cub from last year’s den, visit www.bit.ly/cubaudio.