Bears are famously big nappers. They hibernate in winter (technically called torpor, a deep sleep), dig into dens, and snuggle into comfy spots nightly. Like cats, they can sometimes find unusual locations to rest. Recently, researchers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) spotted a black bear nestled in a unique place—it was curled up in a massive bald eagle's nest in Alaska. The photos are a precious insight into a big predator.
The black bear (Ursus americanus) comes in many varieties, all of which are adorable omnivores. These bears like to sleep on slopes in beds they create for comfort or safety. But one Alaskan bear found a unique place. Researchers—including Stephen B. Lewis, an FWS wildlife biologist—aerially surveyed the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) military base in southern Alaska to observe a different species, the bald eagle. Their nests are large, almost eight feet wide, and weighing almost two tons, and can be viewed from the air. But one nest was not occupied by a feathered friend.
Instead, curled up inside was a black bear, fast asleep. This fairy-book site might be adorable, but it often portends bad news for the eaglets in said nest. “In the past, a few eagle nests have been raided by black bears with predictably bad results for the nesting eagles,” FWS noted on Facebook. Bears can eat eggs and young birds, but in this case, the furry visitor was likely not at fault. Researchers had noted a nesting female eagle in the nest previously, but a week afterward the nest appeared to have “failed.” The mother eagle was no longer incubating, and her male partner was not either. This indicates natural processes ruined the egg's chances before the bear arrived. “It's hard to say how much bears invade eagle nests because we don't (can't) spend that much time monitoring to see it happen or have cameras to witness it,” Lewis told Live Science. Perhaps drawn by the smell of rotting food fed by eagle parents to their young, the bear certainly found a perfect spot for a nap.
A sweet black bear in Alaska used a bald eagle's nest as a convenient bed to nap upon.
h/t: [Live Science]