In August, many families are getting in their last vacation trips of the season and starting to think about shopping for school supplies. Fresh garden produce and ice-cold watermelons still grace many a picnic. But have you ever wondered what wildlife is up to this month?

For many animals, spring and summer are times to gather up food and store it for winter. You might have seen small animals in your own neighborhood busy at work making stores of nuts and seeds. But did you know many larger animals do that, too? Take bears, for example. 

Like their smaller neighbors, bears are eating as much as they can when food sources are plentiful. For the next few months, bears will gain hundreds of pounds as they prepare for their winter hibernations. Black bears in the southeast are gorging themselves on acorns, nuts, and fruits in the late summer and early fall. Although these bears are secretive and often stay out of sight, it’s good to be bear- aware when you come across those wild berry patches on your hikes!

In contrast, brown bears in the northwest are filling up on protein. Salmon swimming up rivers to spawn provide a plentiful food source in the summer. Unlike the black bears, these bears aren’t shy. In fact, you can even watch them livestreaming online! Click HERE to see the brown bears of Alaska’s Katmai National Park as they become nonstop salmon eating machines! The national park sponsors an annual Fat Bear contest, too. Check back frequently on your favorites to see how chunky they are getting.

Learn More!

Check out these site for more information about bears: 

“Living in Black Bear Country.” North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. 

“Black Bear.” National Wildlife Federation. 

“Brown Bears.” US National Park Service. 

Written by Ellen Cowell