Black bear in Churchill with what’s left of a lesser snow goose in his mouth. Rhonda Reid photo.
This close – up photo of a black bear in Churchill with the wing of a lesser snow goose in his mouth has many people excited to see the rarely seen animal. This bear species does reach into the far north but are not often seen at this close range.
Bears of all varieties are becoming more apt at gathering food in the wild. Voracious polar bears in Churchill have been observed on seal – kills all year round and scavenging eggs and tundra berries. Occasionally a beluga whale carcass will feed a dozen bears for a few days. This recent trend in feeding is quite possibly an adaptive survival technique due to the warming climate and reduced sea ice season. Since polar bears have a shorter time on ice hunting seals they need to find alternative food sources in order to maintain a year – round body healthy body weight.
Churchill has four seasons that all seemingly blend into one. There are distinctions between the seasons, mostly temperature to a certain “degree” (see what I did there), as well as different wildlife viewing opportunities. Fantastic northern lights are more visible during the heart of winter though can be seen in fall and even summer with the right conditions. Beluga whales and certain migratory birds prevail only in summer although this past ‘fall’ the whales opted to stick around for awhile during the onset of polar bear season.
With all these amazing sights in Churchill there has been more overlapping of viewing possibilities over the past decade. Polar bears are arriving on land earlier and in greater numbers throughout the summer, a likely repercussion of global warming. This year in particular polar behavior has changed and we are seeing more scavenging in the form of seal – kills and other foraging on the tundra. Adaptation right before our eyes?
Whales, bears, birds, northern lights or beautiful tundra can be seen throughout the year in Churchill. Come see what this amazing region of the sub – Arctic can tantalize you with in any season!
Permafrost contains tons of carbon. Ed Bouvier photo.
Northern lights with Churchill in the background. Katie de Meulles photo.
Churchill sled dog. Brad Josephs photo.
Beluga up close and personal with snorkelers in the Churchill River. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
Polar bear curious of camera on polar rover. Natural Habitat photo.
Polar bear in the fireweed in Churchill. Dennis Fast photo.
Some nice video from late polar bear season of a sow and cub near the Tundra lodge. Hudson Bay ice moved in around mid November aiding in thinning out the congregation of bears in the Churchill region. Another wave of bears came through after with a good concentration of mother’s with cubs. Overall the season provided incredible displays from polar bears, lots of sparring, and foxes everywhere. Bird life was plentiful and seal kills were discovered from time out on the coastline. With winter closing in fast now, current temp is -9 F, most of the action is slowing down. Polar bears are on ice and the town is back to normal, “tundra time.” Keep an eye out for more video and news from the north coming your way.