When I was working in Minnesota, i had the privilege of recording wild bears. Unknown to me before was the fact that bears do not growl!
Hollywood had made us believe that all bears are vicious and taxidermists made them look ferocious.
So one day I was out with the bear biologist, Lynn Rogers in Ely. The mother and her two cubs were comfortable enough around us and she lay down to feed her cubs.
This is the sound they made…
Its like a little motor starting up, its quite beautiful and seeing it live, i couldn’t help having tear or two fill my eyes.
August 31st 2011 and I’m at the bear research centre in Ely, Minnesota.
I was with a bear last year called JJ. Last year this shy and nervous bear spent much of his time up a tree when a foreign noise was heard.
JJ was a yearling then. (“yearling” One that has been separated from the mother to fend for itself)
A year later and I met JJ again, much bigger than last year as to be expected but still extremely nervous. It made me very sad seeing him. What life did he have up to now! always looking over his shoulder, cowering and running off every-time another animal came close. His life up to now was all about survival and September would bring even more danger to him in the form of man and hunting.
JJ is a male and males are not radio collared like the females because they roam in and out of territories.
This meek and fragile bear is very special, Why should an animal like this exist on a knife edge and not have the chances like you or me?
I wondered as I looked into his eyes if I would ever see him again and If I didn’t, who would remember this beautiful timid shy, nervous bear?
I found Braveheart and her cubs in the woods playing with each other as a family unit. Next year Braveheart will expel her cubs and look to breed again. After playtime, the cubs would look for their mothers milk. There are many sounds in nature that make my hair stand on end with excitement and beauty and the sound of a cub nursing is no exception. The cub emits a kind of “motor” sound, listen here to this cub taking milk from its mother, listen also to the breath it takes in between drinking. Other noises you can hear are cubs climbing a white pine, scratching the tree as they climb with their claws.
Location: Ely, MN
Recorder: Sound Devices 788t
Microphones: Schoeps double MS
Sample/Bitrate: 48k 24 bit
4 channel recording
Tripod mounted with Rycote windjammer and dead cat
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