The top picture was made by a hidden camera triggered by motion close to the garden at Ronald and Chris Davis's house below the Air Bellows overlook on the Parkway. The bottom picture was made by Justin Smith's hidden camera that snaps pictures by motion detector. It's in the woods across the road from my house. I heard a report today of sightings. A woman living at a subdivision up the road, Deer Track, on her deck saw 4 bears below the deck on the ground level where they tore up the bird feeder. Also, from Deer Track four bears were seen across the way at Stern's summer house walking somewhere nearby. Before, it was surmised a mother and cub. Now it's four. I don't know anything about bear lore except from seeing documentaries that show bears are social animals in families and tribes. Perhaps this could be a family. Maybe Papa Bear and three Mama Bears. I'd guess more than likely only one would be male. And more than likely one is for sure male. Two of them might be younguns from two different birthings. I don't know how long bears stay with parents. They could be 4 bears of the same age put out by NC Wildlife to see how they do in exurban subdivisions.
We've had bear sightings in the past here at Air Bellows. I've seen evidence by footprints and feces in the road. My first dog here in the mountains, Sadie, 3 yrs old and named before she became mine, liked to roll in bear dung. It is the foulest smelling of any I've ever smelled. Dog was a hunter for groundhog, perfumed herself every chanced upon powerful natural smelling odor to cancel her dog scent. This was to give her an edge on the groundhogs. She could creep closer for a more certain pounce smelling like bear dookie than smelling like dog. Not more than one bear at a time was spotted in the past. I don't know that four is unprecedented, only that I've not heard of a sighting of more than one at a time in this area. I'm not much interested in going out to see if I can find them to verify what I've been hearing. I've heard all kinds of stories about black bears. One, they are not aggressive toward humans. Then I hear in the news about two people attacked and killed on the Appalachian Trail by black bears. Maybe these people turned and ran when they saw the bear, triggering let's-play-chase, automatic among the four-leggeds. No witnesses, no telling. The hiker didn't live to tell it and the bear isn't saying a word. Both bears have probably been killed by now.
Odd sound at the kitchen window just now. It might have been a small owl, like a screech owl, flew into the glass. Birds do that from time to time. This thud was bigger than bird, but smaller than big owl, going by the sound. This is the only thing I can think of to be hitting the glass at this hour or so into darkness of night. Other birds are roosting, blinded by the dark. Only owls are flying. It's rough on their neck vertebrae to fly into an invisible wall. I wonder what it does to flies flying into glass. I see so many times a fly flying from one glass to another, both of them looking like ways out, neither one open, and the fly goes face first at flying speed into the wall, bounces off and flies to the other window at flying speed and hits it face first, turns and goes back, then back again. I've seen a few flies go back and forth like crashing into an invisible wall was fun. Couldn't get enough of it.
A couple nights ago I left the screen door open enough for Caterpillar to go out in the night at will. In the morning, all of Caterpillar's food was gone. She's becoming particular about what she eats at age 14. On the floor were two days of food she hadn't done anything to but lick the juices. A bowl of a handful of dry catfood. All 3 bowls were licked clean. I suspect the coon that comes around here at night. It looks like a fairly young one. I don't care that it came in for a snack of catfood. I'd have put it out for Martha the dog in the morning. I don't mind feeding the coon. I saw it out front one night. It looked like Caterpillar with back arched when it walks. I like it that the coon was able to follow the scent into the house to the catfood place. I'm not leaving the door open any more. I don't want to encourage it to the point I get up one morning and a coon is in the kitchen. That won't do. I like being open to the weather, but not that open. I don't want serpents finding their way in, unable to find their way out. Not what I want. A bat in the house is creepy enough. I have woke in the night hearing and feeling the breath of a bat's wings flapping within an inch of my face. I pulled the cover over my head and let the bat find its way out the same as it found the way in. I like it when something such as that happens spontaneously, but not by habit.
That four bears are comfortable enough in this part of the mountain to be hanging about, seen over a period of time, and around the houses, is new. They've learned that people don't shoot them anymore. But they don't know that for a certainty, because certain it aint. The big farm that was Richardson land down below the waterfalls, including the waterfalls, is now letting rangers use the land for thinning the deer population. I'm wondering if they might have brought the bear in here. That land adjoins mine. I don't care if they did, and it wouldn't matter whether I cared or not. It's not nearly as lethal to have 4 bears in the neighborhood as it is surrounded by christmas trees that killed every life form in the creek that is the beginning of the Little River. Poisoned at the source. These mountains used to have the clearest, cleanest water there was, perfect for making the best liquor there ever was.