Bears, Birds, and Berries

Summer viewing of Michigan's wildlife can be challenging if it begins in the month of July. The variable weather conditions of sweltering heat, humidity, and erratic pressure ridges can spawn spectacular thunderstorms. It requires extra preparation for the outdoor recreationist.

drawing.gif (22759 bytes)Yet, as mid-summer's heat settles in, it produces a rapid ripening of soft fruits. This can be the best time for viewing the foraging patterns of birds and bears. As the soft mast crop of blueberries and blackberries take on purple glows, the reds of wintergreen berries, raspberries, and cherries are signals for wildlife to spring into action.

cherry.gif (2719 bytes)You can get ready to enjoy glimpses of an active time in the lives of Michigan's wildlife. Foraging for soft fruits is an important activity for their survival. Black bears can be found in many northern Michigan wild blueberry and blackberry patches. If you share this passion for fruit gathering, be prepared to leave if you become aware of their presence. View them from a distance. Old burns produce good crops of berries if the fruit has received rain during the peak early summer growth period. Crows and ravens along with northern flickers, cedar waxwings, mice, and turtles all feed on various berries in these areas.

Take your field guides and berry bucket and head for the berry patches this summer in Michigan.