Tag Archives: bears

“Ursine Spring” Begins

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

H’lo, Bart here.

Got very excited about this video where a family of bears (my people!) confuses a bunch of tourists (your people!) on a bridge at Yellowstone National Park in Montana.

This is a great moment for bears everywhere, because it can mark the beginning of a change in the way people think about us!

Some decided the bears were chasing the people.

Others saw the bears as being frightened and cornered.

But I think these bears are starting a revolution, taking it to the next level in bear-human interactions. They’re stepping it up so we can become more like the animals I really admire – Border Collies!


Border Collies rock because they can get those sheep to do just what they want them to do just by running circles around them, which believe it or not, we bears are fast enough to do.

And you can tell from the Yellowstone video that all those people with the cameras are feeling sheepish. They know they’re not where they’re supposed to be.

They WANT to be in the corral.  They DESERVE to be in the corral.

Plus, Border Collies are dignified, lovable, respected, and recognized by everyone as being super-smart. That’s my dream for bears – that we can have that kind of status.

And at least two meals a day, which sheepdogs also get as part of the deal!

Let the revolution begin!

Your trusted, capable friend,

I think Bart is hallucinating, or the wild berries have both ripened and fermented at the same moment. The Yellowstone bears are frightened and Bart is no sheepdog. But we all can dream!

What animal do you most admire?

Cowards Pass On Offer

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.


Bart here, fading in and out of that wintertime state of torpor otherwise known as “hibernation”.

I’m not too excited about being awake right now, but as long as I’m up I do have a bone to pick with the people who make a big fuss over Groundhog Day.

Last year I said Groundhog Day could be lots more interesting if they made a big show out of rousting a bear to find out how much longer winter would last.

But nobody took me up on it. Yesterday came and went without even a knock on my door. Not that I have an actual door in my den, but you know what I mean. I waited around all morning hoping to be poked with a stick, but nothing happened.

Instead, all the coverage went to that stupid groundhog. Again.

So no, I’m not impressed that P. Phil “saw” his shadow. Casting a shadow is not a big deal in the animal world. Almost everybody can do it.

Rousting a bear would be much more active than waking a groundhog, and I can do a lot more than blink my eyes in the February sunshine. But I realize the whole groundhog thing is built around old fashioned “folk wisdom”, so I made up a little rhyme to get the bear rousting tradition going.

Wake a bear while he is nappin’
and he can tell you what will happen.

If he stomps upon your torso
spring’s delayed six weeks or moreso

If he bites you on your shoulder
March and April will be colder

But if he licks you on your face,
Spring will hurry here, apace.

Nice use of “apace,” eh? That’s Shakespeare.  Let’s see a groundhog do that!

Your pal,

Share your favorite bit of folk wisdom.

Bird Brains

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

H’lo, Bart here.

Well there’s snow again, finally. ‘Bout time, if you ask me. The woods get kinda dull in winter without a white blanket to make things look clean and crisp, like a freshly made bed.

Not that I know anything about freshly made beds. I’ve heard tell, that’s all. I know there’s three kinds of freshly made beds – too hard, too soft and just right.

That’s the legend among us bears, anyhow.

Most of MY freshly made stuff is exactly the kind of junk the new snow covers up, which is why we like it so much. The woods can get kinda messy and gross, to tell the truth. Gotta love the snow.

It’s funny, because people think we bears and all the other wild creatures hate the “bad” weather and run from it and complain about it, just like you do. But for us, the weather is the weather – we never think about changing it or how it could be better than it is.

What’s the point of that? I would shrug right now but I don’t have the shoulders for it.

So anyway, I was surprised to see this article the other day about birds having the power to sense severe storms days in advance and then they take action to avoid them, which makes birds look pretty smart.

Read it if you like. Some people think this means that birds are oh-so sensitive and highly intelligent because they can fly out of the way of bad weather the same way we would if only we could be so smart for even a day.

Some are even saying we should let pigeons do the daily TV forecast – that they would rescue us from harm because of their extreme weather smarts.

Seriously, though, that’s not a good idea. I’ve known a few birds and they’re as dumb as stones. Pigeons especially!  Not really hero material.  Not even close.  Suppose they knew some bad weather was coming – so what?  Birds wouldn’t be able to tell you why, or how they knew, or what to do about it, except “Fly!”

That’s pretty much the whole bird vocabulary right there. “Eat”. “Poop”. “Fly”. Not the kind of TV role model you want for your kids.

I’m not saying birds are worthless. You just have to know who you’re dealing with. Here’s a YouTube video from the Budapest Zoo that pretty much sums it up:

So I’m a creature of the woods. I don’t know what it’s like to be a zoo bear. But if I was set up in a pen like this with tons of visitors every day, I’d want to keep it tidy. Lots of people say this bear was trying to save the bird, but I think she was just trying to get that annoying thing out of her water. They can cause such a ruckus, and for what?

All that squawking, flailing and flapping would make people forget to look at the cool bear!

Your pal,

When have you rescued a wild creature?

There’s a Bear in the Words

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

H’lo, Bart here.

Words can hurt.

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods
He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

I’m sad about this insensitive DNR press release that came out last week about how people should react to wild bears in Twin Cities suburbs.

For one thing, it lumps together bears and mosquitos because we’re both “unwelcome visitors.” This is unfair. I know mosquitos. I live in the woods! Bears and mosquitos are NOT the same!

Then they compare bears to “a guy wielding a knife”!


Unfair again! If you look inside any suburban strip mall Subway you’ll see a real “guy wielding a knife.” Trust me – I’ve looked inside a lot of them. He’s just slicing the Honey Wheat bread (which I love), and nobody thinks of him as a threat to public safety.

One sad-but-true part is where the conservation officer says suburban bears get shot because “… shooting a bear with a tranquilizer dart, then transporting it elsewhere is mostly Hollywood fiction.”

I know about this because I tried to get a “Tranquilized Bear” role in Hollywood, and Manny, my agent in Los Angeles, says they aren’t writing those parts anymore. Now, the bear roles in the big movies are all like “Marauding Bear,” “Garbage-Picking Bear,” and “Child-Mauling Bear”.

I’m not saying I’m too good for these Bad Bear roles, but c’mon! I spent hours learning how to fall out of a tree because Manny said movie bears have to do their own stunts! But now the goofy, friendly bear character I can totally do is nowhere to be found. Manny saw a script the other day about a bear that gets exposed to radiation at a nuclear plant accident and gets to be 100 feet tall and then terrorizes a National Park.

Why would I do that? I love the National Parks!

Finally, the DNR says this about the sort of bear who might dumpster dive in Blaine:

Most such bears are young males searching for their own territory after emerging from hibernation and being chased off by their parents.

Chased off by their parents?

That’s not how it was put to me.

Mom said: “You should have a little parcel all your own where you can keep things messy the way you like and dad and I don’t have to worry about where you’ve pooped?” Then they gave me a rabbit carcass and promised to come visit!

That’s not “chasing off” somebody! Is it?

Your pal,

Bart has a point – words matter, and it’s important to be kind. But movies need villains and sometimes your folks do have to chase you off. And face it, we are all creatures who should be handled with care, especially when our paths cross unexpectedly.

What advice should the DNR give about interacting with you?

Yawn of a New Day

Today’s post comes from Bart the Bear.

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods
He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods


Hibernation time is over for me. I’m up. It’s … yawn … not a good time to be searching for food. That’s true every year. But this year is the worst I’ve seen in a long time – basically nothing but snow wherever I look.

I Googled “Hibernation” just to read up on it a little bit. Since there’s nothing … yawn … to eat, I figured I might as well feed my mind. And there’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know, and I’ve been hibernating every year … yawn … for my whole life.

That part about the build-up and expulsion of a “fecal plug” was news to me, and also it was extra gross. Not to go into too much detail, but now I know why I’ve always thought someone was waiting around to take a pot shot at me every year when I came out of my den.

When you’re a bear, every loud POP sounds like gunfire.

But anyway … yawn … it’s a challenge to wake up when you’re weak and under-nourished. So I’m … yawn … yawning. I’m writing in the word “yawn” whenever I do it just to let you know how … yawn … bad it is. It’s bad. Did you notice? I’m yawning a lot.

So to get the image of that fecal plug out of my mind, I Googled “yawn” and found out a lot, including that it’s contagious, like a disease. If I … yawn … yawn and you’re watching me, or even just reading something I … yawn … wrote … you might start to yawn too. People used to think this was happening because there was some feeling of empathy between the yawner and the person being yawned at – the yawnee.


It turns out that’s not true. At least not in this study. What they found instead is that it varies – some people don’t catch yawning from another person – they’re resistant to it. Old people are especially resistant.

I’m thinking … yawn … that the geezers were already asleep, but the study didn’t say that.

All I know is … yawn … when I open my mouth wide at people they can do two things – take pictures or run like Hell. Or both, in that exact order.

But they sure don’t yawn back.

What behaviors do you pick up from other people?

Bart’s Christmas Letter

Today’s post comes from Bart the Bear – the bear who found a cell phone in the woods.

H’lo Friends,

One of those tiny little mail trucks turned over in a stiff northwesterly wind the other day, and all the Christmas cards poured out. A few of them blew into the trees and I opened about twenty, all with chatty holiday letters inside. I didn’t know people did this!

Of course I like the idea so I decided to write one of my own.

Greetings Friends!

I hope this Christmas finds you fat and happy. I am both! I gained a bunch of pounds this fall storing up calories for the winter – just like last year and every year before it. It’s what we bears do, and I’m good at it.


In the early part of 2013 I had a swell den in a low spot where a tree fell and a dry creek made a hollow that was out of the wind and very cozy for most of January and February. But when things started to melt, it got a bit damp and I had to get up early to scout around for more food. I was lucky because somebody up here put a whole bunch of money into buying up the last of the Twinkies and the Hostess cupcakes when it looked like they wouldn’t be manufactured anymore. And later when somebody else bought the equipment and flooded the stores with “new” Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes they took their investment and dumped it in the woods. I guess they were disgusted with their unsuccessful attempt to corner a market that was coming back around again. Thirty five cases of factory-made pastry! I ate for a month.

As far as travels go, this year I went up north to where that big highway crosses in front of the lake. Then I went as far east as the river, over west to the place where the trees thin out, and down south to the place with the campgrounds where I’m not supposed to be. Tranquilizer dart territory.

I wanted to make it to London and Rome and Shanghai this year just like some of the people in those Christmas letters I found, but I’m only able to get as far as the place in online reservations where they ask you for a credit card number. Of course I find credit cards in the woods all the time. It’s surprising how careless people can be! But when the name on the card doesn’t match the address I make up, airlines kick me off their website. My dream is that someday I’ll be able to book a flight at least. Actually getting through security and getting on a plane would be a tougher problem. I’m big, I smell bad, I don’t have a legal ID and I don’t wear clothes – all things that would make those Homeland Security people suspicious. But at least I wouldn’t have to worry about taking off my shoes or my belt.

Throughout most of the spring and the summer my time was completely filled up scavenging for food, hanging out around a couple of trails I know, and posing for pictures taken by hikers who can’t seem hold the camera still. Half the time they take the shot, then drop the camera (or phone) and run. I’m guessing there wasn’t a single photo of me that didn’t come out blurry. Some days I think I know how Bigfoot feels.

Speaking of other animals, there was a female in the area last Spring and I got a pretty clear idea that she was ready to connect with somebody and produce some cubs, but we could never seem to get on the same page about that. Our paths crossed a couple of times but I didn’t get the sense that she was interested in me at all. Personally, I mean, as a bear.  Not a lot to talk about between us, and the woods are full of bears who are only interested in casual encounters.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have a problem with being alone. But if you’ve got a family to be with at Christmas time, you should be grateful even if you don’t like them all that much. Families aren’t there to make you happy, they’re there to make you aware of the world and your place in it, and to remind you of where you come from.

I have no idea about that – if I have any relatives in these woods it’s a mystery to me. I argue with almost every bear I see – that’s my nature. But if I knew for sure that some of them shared my DNA, I’d really give them a piece of my mind.

That’s what family is for!

Your pal,

What are relatives for?

Hibernation Rejuvenation

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods. It has been translated from the original Ursus Textish.

Bart Blackberry2

H’lo, Bart here.

I feel like I’m waking up. And I was just in the middle of a beautiful dream – I looked up and there were all these tiny cardboard boxes floating down towards me – each on on a separate parachute. I couldn’t tell for sure what was inside – but each one seemed warm and smelled delicious!

That’s how I knew it was a dream. Nothing in the woods is warm and delicious in mid-March.

But the forest is coming to life. I know I’m not alone – There area few subtle signs and a lot of hunger out there. Since hibernation began I’ve lost some weight, so I’m always famished. The problem is, there aren’t enough picnics happening right now. That’s where I really get lots of food because people are such slobs. It’s nice there are some things a bear can count on. But for some reason, this is a time when campers in the woods are not eating as much as they’re drinking – kind of a disappointment for me. What’s with that? All I know is it has something to do with a Saint and Snakes and Shamrocks.

It’s very confusing because I’ll sometimes see a flash of green in the roadside ditch and I think some berries might be coming out – but when I get there all I find is a bunch of emerald trash and some bottles – each with a bit of fizzy green stuff in the bottom.


And even though I’ve had bad luck with bottles lately, I drink it anyway because I need the calories. And then I fall asleep again. When I wake up, I feel worse than before.

It’s not supposed to happen that way! You’re supposed to feel great when you’ve had enough rest. I guess it has something to do with the green drinks, but what can I do? There isn’t much food in the woods right now, unless somebody organizes a massive popcorn drop. Call out the National Guard – they need some experience parachuting supplies into the forest. Rice Krispie Bars would be OK too. Or pies. Pies would be very nice.

Hey – I think that’s what my dream was about! I’m finding out what every hungry wild animal knows. It pays to be a pest. Does it pay in pies? Pehaps!

Your pal,

I assured Bart that the National Guard will not do a Pie Drop in the woods. The state got a little budget forecast relief a few days ago, but not enough to justify the kind of extravagance he imagines. Still, a breakfast of pie from the sky would be better than guzzling the backwash from bottles of green beer.

What’s the worst breakfast you’ve ever had?

Big Weekend for Wild Animals

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods. His message has been translated from its original language, Ursus Textish.

Yo. Bart here.

Yes, I can stream videos, but it does not make me happy.

This is it – a big weekend for us in the woods. The tourists and vacationers are getting their last licks in before they have to go back to school or get serious about their work. Four-wheelers are roaring through the forest, Jet skis are buzzing across the lake, and half-eaten bags of Doritos are everywhere.

It’s almost like there is some primal frenzy that takes hold of your species, to play and thrash about wildly in the final hours of your imagined freedom, before everything around you changes.

I would sympathize, but starting today I’ve got my own problems to think about. Things will get quiet pretty fast after this.

Before long the cycle starts all over again. If I’m lucky.

But this is not a complaint. I can take care of myself. Or at least I can take cover. I know that other animals have it much worse than I do. Ferrets, for example, and parakeets. Circus bears. And house cats.

I see that there was just a gathering down in Minneapolis where thousands sat on a hillside and watched images of house cats being tormented by vacuums and metronomes and the bleak reality of their own confinement. And this was considered entertainment for the people! They voted on which episode of feline exploitation they enjoyed the most.

That’s sick.

The winning entry is extra sad, but I hear that people laughed. Out loud.

If you search for “bears” on You Tube, what you get is even bleaker. Mostly it involves dumpsters, trampolines, salmon and hairy men.

Very discouraging.

It makes me glad I’m still free, even though I’m spending far too much time playing with this phone. When will the battery run out? I’m afraid to put it down.

I guess maybe I have already been trapped, and simply don’t know it.

Your Buddy,

I don’t know if this is a tongue-in-cheek entry by Bart or not. He has a pretty big tongue and not that much cheek, so I’m guessing the stress of the Labor Day weekend is getting to him. But if the unfortunate tale of Henri gives some fresh perspective to a bear in the woods, what’s the harm in that?

How will you spend the big weekend?