A Glacier National Park black bear still hibernating high in the hollow of a cottonwood tree is now streaming live on YouTube, so its many fans might glimpse the moment the bruin descends to end its winter slumber.
The bear was first spotted poking its head from the maw of the tree trunk, more than 50 feet above ground, on March 23. It was believed that the critter would emerge from hibernation over the next day or so, but more wintry weather seemed to change its mind.
Since then, the bear has been spotted most evenings. It has ventured out onto limbs and licked snow and moisture from bark, making the end of hibernation seem even more imminent. (Glacier National Park in Montana also offers webcams featuring two viewpoints besides the YouTube streaming video set up Friday. Glacier’s closeup webcam has been receiving about 50,000 views per day.)
But for the most part the bear remains inside its den. Sometimes it sticks its head out. Other times it stretches its paws skyward. Viewers might glimpse just the bear’s ears, or simply the den’s entrance.
This is not too unusual. Although male black bears typically emerge from hibernation beginning in mid-March, females with cubs might wait until late April or longer.
It’s not clear, however, if the Glacier bear is a female or has cubs. What is evident, though, is that the creature is stirring, and soon a powerful hunger will be the force that inspires descent to the forest floor.
The question that remains, though, is will anybody be watching when this finally occurs?