March 31st, 2010 by Carl
Welcome to April! The Image of the Month for this month is a grizzly bear rubbing his head on a tree. I photographed this bear sleeping not long before I took this photo, and after he woke up, he strolled directly over to this small Black Cottonwood tree, and rubbed and scratched on it for quite some time. I got a few photos of him standing at full height, which is an impressive sight for a bear this size. I’d estimate him to be well over 9′ tall.
April is the month the bears typically will be waking up from their long winter hibernation, and start moving around again. Won’t be long before my sojourns into the woods will again require my can of bear spray in my pocket. This bear had just awoken, so I thought it might be a good photo of the month for April for that reason.
Bear hibernation is a pretty amazing phenomena. No other animal anywhere near the size of the grizzly can sleep an entire winter away, living off it’s fat reserves, stored up from a summer of eating. Some folks argue that grizzlies (and black bears) aren’t true hibernators, because they actually wake up during the winter, and their body temperatures don’t reach down to the temperatures of other (what we call) “true hibernators”, like the Arctic Ground Squirrel, etc. Other people contend that given it’s size and mass, the grizzly is probably the greatest hibernator on the planet.
However we refer to it, I’m not sure the grizzly cares.