On March 25, KTWH’s Saturday Morning Mix aired a special hour devoted to encounters with bears and bear dens. Hosts Fran Kaliher and Peg Zahorik talked about a den they recently visited in northern Wisconsin where they recorded the sounds of the infant cubs and their mother from outside the den, without ever seeing the bears of course. These are some of the sounds recorded on two different occasions, January 28 and February 12 of this year.
The first one records the cubs “squalling” = trying to get comfortable, squirming around, sounding a bit like ducks squawking!
This one includes some squalling, then some “chumming” = nursing sounds, not the suckling itself but a sound they make while swallowing the milk; periodic short breaks for a gasp of air, every 3-5 seconds. Sounds like a motor running, or a car trying to start.
Two different cubs chumming, two different “pitches” or frequencies
Cubs squalling with occasional deep breaths/snores from the mother: listen for these at 5 seconds, 36 seconds and 1 minute. Also a grunt or belch from the mother at about 44 seconds.
February 12 now, much chumming, noisier than the earlier visit, mother’s breathing at 10 seconds
Starts out with a lull in the action, relatively quiet, panting of cubs, slowly ramp up into chumming interrupted with gasps of breath, mother’s breathing at 8 seconds, 24 seconds and more
Check out the photo gallery of photos from the biologists’ visit to this den in March at http://ktwh.org/gallery/from-the-biologists-visit-to-the-bear-den/ The cubs are really cute!