We’ve seen many photos of Finnegan Bear recently when he presented his backside to the camera, sometimes with a leaf attached.  On this day, however, he gave the curator some good photo ops.  Remember that the curators must take photos quickly and from a distance, so these are the best of the photo shoot and were taken with a zoom lens to make it appear that they are closeups.

At first, it seemed as though it was going to be another day of hind end poses but as you’ll see, Finn moved on to pose very nicely for the camera.  In fact, he was the only bear who was visible except for Andy, who stayed in the background.


At first, Finn only showed his bum.


Then he turned around and faced forward.


He seemed to look around, surveying the scene.


He turned to the side, showing off his handsome profile.


He stood still for another good shot.

Just as a reminder of how much he has grown, here is a photo of Finnegan at three months of age.

Finnegan-3 months

Fuzzy little 3-month-old Finnegan. How much he has changed!

And now for a zoom lens closeup of our big, nine month old bear cub!

Finn now

Finnegan Bear at nine months. What a difference!

It is incredible that six months can make such a difference in a bear cub.  As we said the other day, if a human baby grew at the same rate, that baby would be over 100 pounds at the age of nine months













You may recall that during the Olympics we saw a lot of photos of Finnegan Bear in the Cubby Pool, practicing his skills.  We hadn’t seen him in the pool for quite a while, but today we have photos of our swimmer once again.  Of course he and the other two cubs may swim when they are not being observed, but we have no way of knowing that for sure.

The weather has turned fall-like the last few days, but since bears have fur swimsuits – er, coats – the water temperature didn’t phase Finn.  What is so noticeable is how much larger he looks in the pool than when we saw him in the summer.


Finnegan took a dip in the Cubby Pool.


We remember when the log seemed very large next to little Finnegan.


Earlier, Finn struggled to get up on the log. It’s hard to believe the changes in him.


He seems to be enjoying the water. He was always a “water cub.”


He took a couple of laps in the pool before climbing out.


After a while he climbed out to go and join Andy in foraging.

While Finnegan was swimming, Eliza was napping in her tree and her brother Andy was foraging.  Finn went to join Andy after his swim.

As we have said before, ABR has chosen the date of January 22nd for the “official” birth date of the cubs that come to us for care.  Of course, we know that not all cubs are born on this date, but it falls about midway in the range of dates (from January to mid-February) when all bear cubs are born.  So on the twenty-second of each month we wish our cubs a happy birthday.  These photos of the three cubs were taken on their “nine month birthday.”  It is incredible how much little bear cubs grow in less than a year.  If a human baby that weighs about 7 pounds at birth grew that fast, he or she would weigh over 100 pounds by the age of nine months!!  It’s a good thing that our babies don’t grow at the speed of bear cubs!

Here are our three chubby cubbies.


Finnegan Bear at nine months of age.

We like the way he is framed by the fall leaves.


Andy Bear at nine months of age.

Andy is very good at standing on a tree limb.  Here, the other branch supports his backside.  Eliza Bear refused to be photographed on this day, so we’ll use the photo of her taken a couple of days ago.


One more photo of pretty Eliza Bear. She was a day or two shy of nine months.

Our cubs have certainly grown and filled out.  Our mission with them is drawing to a close.


For a month or more we have seen the three ABR cubs on the ground, foraging and busily eating.  Now, however, there is a slight change in their behavior. We explained about the intensive feeding (hyperphagia) that occurs in late summer and fall, not just in bear cubs but in all bears as their instincts tell them to pack on the pounds before hibernation.  When a bear reaches the weight that he or she senses is sufficient to survive the long winter, the period of frenzied eating ends, and lethargy sets in.  Eating slows down and the animal spends more time resting and sleeping – on the ground or in trees.  It seems that our cubs are reaching that point.  They are spending much more time up in the trees than they have for quite a while.  Today’s photos demonstrate this.

cubs in tree

All three cubs are high in a tree. The red arrows point them out.

It’s scary for humans watching, but high in trees is where cubs feel the safest.

Cubs in tree

Zooming in, we see the cubs closer.


Finnegan seemed to go to sleep. He was very relaxed.


Eliza Bear was the highest. She is a brave and adventurous cub.

It’s good to see the cubs behaving like wild bears.  They are still eating the tasty acorns and fruits, but at a much slower pace.  Like their cousins in the wild, they are slowing down as winter draws near.

No surprise – our three orphaned bear cubs are busy foraging and filling their tummies.  They still try to hide in the underbrush, but as the trees and shrubs lose their leaves, it’s harder for them to stay hidden.  It seems that their hyperphagia, or intense eating to prepare for winter, is not letting up.  They want to be well prepared!


Roly poly Andy Bear out foraging.


Andy goes into the underbrush to hide as he eats.


Finnegan comes out of hiding to forage for acorns.

Andy and Eliza

The two siblings, Andy and Eliza are only partly hidden.

We can see that these cubs are nice and round – a very good shape for bear cubs at this time of year!

As we have said before, the curators have very brief times to observe the cubs, because they must avoid habituating the bears to humans.  On this day, the curator had a very brief glimpse of each of the three cubs.  The results are posted here.


Eliza was the most visible cub.


Her brother, Andy, was hiding in the underbrush.


Finnegan showed only his backside as he ran away.

(We were glad to see that Finn did not have a leaf stuck to his bum today.)


One more photo of pretty Eliza Bear.

The curator had a quick glimpse of the three cubs, and we also have a quick glimpse.  But it’s better than not seeing them at all.  We’re sure you’ll agree with that statement.



A few days ago we shared some photos of Andy Bear scampering up a tree in alarm, after hearing an unfamiliar sound.  Today we have a video that shows Andy in action.  If you listen carefully you’ll hear the sounds a distressed cub makes – huffing, blowing and moaning.  As we said when we posted the photos, Andy was making sounds that are typical of a cub (or of a larger bear, for that matter) that is anxious for some reason.  It is hard to believe that even adult bears are easily frightened by unfamiliar sounds.  Black bears, despite their size, are shy animals that are very easily spooked.  Click here to enjoy the video of little Andy Bear and to listen to the sounds he makes.