Deborah Perkins has written a great column about beechnuts and bears. Deborah was a wildlife biologist for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and one of their top bear researches, even crawling into bear dens in the winter.
“I miss crawling into bear dens,” she writes, “that feeling of being in that deep, dark hole, all alone with mama bear and her cubs, in the dead of winter. I remember it like it was yesterday, the sound of her slow heartbeat, the smell of cedar bark lining her bed, and the muffled voices of the rest of the bear crew just outside the den entrance waiting for me to hand out the cubs.
“I was in perpetual awe of the quiet miracle of hibernation, of mama bear nursing her cubs through the winter on an empty stomach.”
I’m in perpetual awe of the wildlife biologists who crawl into those deep dark bear dens!
What does this have to do with beechnuts? Well, they turn out to be critically important sources of nourishment for our black bears. And Deborah gives you advice on how to keep our beech trees healthy and producing beechnuts.
You can read all about that, and more about Deborah’s adventures with Maine bears, and also enjoy some amazing photos, here in her blog.