Bears Continue Their Winter Dormancy

. Just an update on Grinder and Coola’s 2018/2019 dormancy period – all is going well and the boys continue to sleep most of the cold and snowy days away.

We do see them get up from time to time on their infrared camera (see screen capture below!) as they stretch their muscles and check conditions outside of their sleeping chamber.
What Grinder and Coola are going through is not technically hibernation.  They are in a period of extremely slow metabolism and lethargy to help them make it through the cold months when there are no food resources in their territories.  While a true hibernator will have their body temperature lower to extremes and have their heart rate drop to just a few beats per minute Grizzlies do not go to this extreme.  Their body temperature does lower several degrees and their heart rate drops to a quarter of it’s normal rate but they still sit-up, roll over, stretch and even go for short sleep walks during this dormancy period.
All of this motion is thought to keep their muscles, soft tissues and bones healthy during this period of non-activity.  We’ve seen a lot of this on our cameras and occasionally catch Grinder and Coola out on one of their wanders.  It definitely looks more like a sleep walk as the bears don’t acknowledge us or even much in the den – just look around and then go back into their sleeping chamber.
Soon, however, the days will begin to get warmer and daylight hours will get longer and the bears will begin to do more and more activity as they anticipate the end of the winter.
Stay tuned and watch our wildlife camera for more information!

Winter Hummers

Each winter we receive quite a few notes or calls about people who are confused to still see hummingbirds coming to their backyard feeders. It might surprise you to know that one species, Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna), spend the winter here in the great Vancouver area. Traditionally it is thought that these birds were short distance migrators heading down into the United States and the warmer coastal areas. But with the influx of people to the Vancouver and Vancouver Island areas there was also an increase in food availability in the form of human planted flowers and feeders.

Now quite a few stick around for the worst months of the year and they’ve even been known to start breeding in late January or February if conditions are right.  
If you are an avid hummingbird watcher and feeder then there are a few things you can do to help make the winter months easier for these little creatures.  The first thing is to maintain a feeder for them to drink nectar from. Hanging these in sheltered areas will help prevent wind or snow buildup and provide a respite while the birds are getting a drink. Please make sure to hang the feeders away from any fences or strong tree branches to prevent house cats from using these as a perch to launch attacks against the unsuspecting hummingbirds.  
During cold snaps, it’s a real help if you can bring your feeder inside for the night time. Hummingbirds will feed until approximately 30 minutes after dusk and then go into a torpor for the night time and awake just before dawn to feed. So if as much as possible you can bring your feeder in after dark and set it out just before sunrise it will help prevent it from freezing up. You can also help slow down freezing by using a slightly richer feeding nectar of three parts water to one part sugar (summertime recommendation is four parts water to one part sugar). The more sugar in the water and the slower it will freeze.  Using more than this 3:1 ration could cause harm to the hummingbirds and is not recommend.
Also, make sure to clean and disinfect your feeder at least once per week – more often if the temperatures warm up. Using a mild 1% bleach solution will kill any bacteria or viral buildups and help prevent the spread of bird disease which can be quite common on some feeding stations. As birds are spending all their resources to find food and stay warm in the winter it is a lot hard for them to fight off disease as well. Keeping a clean feeder and fresh sugar nectar solution will really help these guys and gals out!
Finally, make sure to enjoy watching these marvelous birds as they zip in for a feed and know you are really helping them out by providing an easily accessible food source during the cold winter months.

Reindeer Enjoy Post Christmas Lay-Over then Return to North Pole

. Santa’s two reindeer, Dancer and Vixen, joined us this year at the start of December for our Peak of Christmas event. They had a great time before Christmas meeting with all the visitors and families that were exploring the North Pole setting at Grouse Mountain. They also hung out with Santa Claus himself near his workshop!

Dancer and Vixen joined all of the other reindeer (Donner, Dasher, Comet, Cupid, Prancer, Blitzen and of course Rudolph) for a productive, if somewhat exhausting, Christmas Eve of delivering presents with Santa all around the world!
After this, they were pretty worn out so they decided to take an extended vacation hanging out at Grouse Mountain to recover. They had lots of naps and copious amounts of food at their all inclusive resort habitat. 
Just this past Monday Dancer and Vixen were seen leaving the mountain to return back to Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole where they will start preparations and training for Christmas 2018!

We hope you join us, and Dancer and Vixen, next year for our Peak of Christmas only at Grouse Mountain!

Bears Stir But Still in Hibernation

. With conditions turning towards spring we’ve noticed that Grinder and Coola, our two resident Grizzly Bears, have been doing a lot more activity in recent days! 

They have quite often been seen stretching, rolling over, sitting up and even doing a couple wanders outside of their sleeping chamber. They have a large building built around their sleeping den to keep snow away and allow them a safe spot to wander into to check outside conditions. The daylight hours have also been increasing, a signal to the bears that spring is near. 
It is normal in the spring for bears to leave the den to check local conditions and look to see if any food sources are available yet so Grinder and Coola are doing just as their wild cousins are right now!
Follow them on their very own Grizzly Web Cam broadcasting in infrared straight from the den and watch to see how active they becoming in the coming weeks.
And please stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to Bear Emergence 2017 – always an exciting day!