The bears are back in town
July 8, 2021 12:29 PM   Subscribe

The bears are back at Brooks Falls! Just in time to get ready for the big salmon buffet coming over the next several weeks, the brown bears have returned to Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park.

As they feed on salmon over the late summer, the bears will build up the fat they need to survive the long, harsh winter. Around the end of the season, the park will hold the Fat Bear Week contest, where you can vote on which bear became the most heckin' chonker over the season. Previous winners include Holly in 2019, 409 Beadnose in 2018, and three time champion Otis in 2017. If you wanna know your bears (c'mon, now, who doesn't?) the Bears of Brooks Falls 2021 guide (large PDF) is available for your perusal. Enjoy checking on the bears throughout the summer!
(Previously, also previously, and one more.)
posted by azpenguin (19 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
They look scraggly and hungry, I hope they get the catch they need. I love their focus. I think human hunters will recognize that hunting is very much about waiting and watching.
posted by mumimor at 1:05 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I look forward to this every year! (As do the bears!)
posted by mochapickle at 1:13 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


(But probably not the salmon!)
posted by mochapickle at 1:19 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I'm feeling a sudden urge to go and eat at one of those conveyor belt sushi places.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 1:43 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


(But probably not the salmon!)
True, but they are going to die very soon regardless.
posted by mumimor at 1:43 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


hahaha definitely craving salmon now, too. I hope these fine bears get lots to eat so we can enjoy their fine and majestic asses in a few months!
posted by supermedusa at 2:12 PM on July 8


Love watching those fat bear butts get bigger and bigger! I hope they have enough to get good and thicc this year. I'm crossing my fingers for a Holly comeback!
posted by fight or flight at 2:16 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


The Riffles cam has a lovely shot of former Fat Bear contestant Grazer with her two cubs. Looking very tired and skinny right now but hopefully she'll have an opportunity to eat soon.
posted by fight or flight at 2:20 PM on July 8


Guess who just got back today?
Them wild-eyed bears that'd been away
Haven't changed, had much to say
But man, I still think them ursoids are crazy
They were askin' if you were around
How you was, where you could be found
Told 'em you were livin' downtown
Drivin' all the old men crazy
The bears are back in town
(The bears are back in town)
I said the bears are back in town
(The bears are back in town)
The bears are back in town
(The bears are back in town)
The bears are back in town
(The bears are back in town)
posted by Splunge at 2:21 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]




(But probably not the salmon!)

Well, they are headed up the river to spawn…

Also, Splunge, I love the band Thin Grizzly!
posted by TedW at 3:19 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


I have long dreamed of a summer trip to Katmai to see the big brownies at Brooks, but until I win one of the lottery slots, I at least have opportunities closer to home.

I recently ordered a motion-sensitive trail cam and strapped it to a pillar on the downstairs porch, aimed at the stairs at the end of the shared boardwalk by which my house is accessed. The camera went up on Thursday and all it caught the first night were neighborhood cats, but on Friday night this neighbor came by on his(?) rounds.

However, all our local bears are black bears -- a fine species in its own right and clever, interesting neighbors (as long as my human neighbors remember to be responsible with their household trash) but our local black bears are really not in the same league as the Katmai behemoths.

It's probably just as well -- I have, in the past, met a bear coming down the stairs in my picture while I was coming up the boardwalk to return home. Meeting a brown bear under the same circumstances would probably have ended differently.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:08 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Also, for what it's worth, in southeast Alaska (i.e. quite a ways from Katmai) we are still waiting for the salmon to start up the streams in huge numbers but it is proving to be a bumper berry year; this morning I was interrupted by a deer slurping salmonberries out of the bushes next to my bedroom window and in general our bears are looking much happier than they did last year at this time.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:11 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I have long dreamed of a summer trip to Katmai to see the big brownies at Brooks, but until I win one of the lottery slots, I at least have opportunities closer to home.


Have you tried the McNeil lottery, too? We won one year and it was amazing. There were enough people in my group who were repeat customers that it seems…not impossible? but I don’t know what the actual odds are.

I am kind of tempted to try Round Island walruses as the final boss of AK wildlife/photography tourism, but I have a feeling it ends up being pretty spendy to get there when you’re done and there’s no shelter outside of your tent there (at McNeil there’s a secure cabin for food storage/meals and gathering with a stove). There’s a camera there, too, should anyone want to freak out their co-workers with allllll the grunts and snorts.

My urban AK place looks out over a coastal refuge and we get bears (more black than brown), moose and lynx pretty regularly; I should get a trail cam.
posted by charmedimsure at 4:45 PM on July 8


Bear catched fish!!!! Yay bear yay!
posted by pangolin party at 5:17 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


(I've been watching this livestream for a while now.)
posted by pangolin party at 5:18 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Have you tried the McNeil lottery, too?
No, but I should.
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:08 PM on July 8


🎵 (gentle bossa-nova rhythm)
It's fish, it's fur
It's the edge of the falls
It's the waiting around
Catching nothing at all

It's the circle of life
It's meat, it's claws
It's the glint of a scale
Landing in something's jaws

Occasional birds
The camera pans
It's how they all sit
Hoping something lands

And the riverbank talks
Of the Salmon and Bears
It's the video stream
Every summer it's there
🎵
posted by wanderingmind at 7:28 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Excellent timing -- I'm in need of some chill animal video. I love watching these bears.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:19 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


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