Jo Weaver‘s beautiful story of a mother bear and her cub explores the life of these very special bears through all four seasons of the year. As her story shows, bears are amazing creatures with fascinating habits and routines. Inspired by Big Bear and Little One, we decided to learn a little bit more about the bears in our part of the world. Here’s what we found out (and bear with me if the puns are a little heavy handed):

“This is where our journey begins,” She said.

Big Bear and her cub start their journey in the forest in springtime. Spring is the beginning of a long forage for food for most bears. As very few plants have flowered or put out leaves right at the beginning of spring, many bears begin traveling to find warmer areas where berries or fruits have survived the winter or spring has come a little early.

“Little One watched Big Bear and learned how to fish…”

As bears wait for spring to take hold in their habitats, they often look for sources of protein and fat in other animals and in fish. However, bear in mind that these magnificent mammals are omnivorous, and their diets are almost entirely made up of plants and fruits. Areas of vegetation and water often attract bears because of the food sources both on the shores and in the water. Rivers and lakes are also needed for drinking and cooling in the warm summer months.

“Together they explored far and wide…”

Bears travel throughout the year, and do not necessarily establish a specific territory or home. They like to go wherever there are good sources of food. A mother bear like Big Bear will still travel around as many as 100 square miles with her cub, but other bears that do not have cubs will forage for food in areas as large as 200 square miles.

“…and filled their hungry tummies with ripe autumn berries.”

Black bears love the forest because they are natural climbers, and they can climb trees for fruits, nuts, and bearries. They also love wooded areas because they provide a large variety of vegetation for exploring and eating. Bears have even been known to hibernate in tree holes far above the ground.

“In the warm darkness, Big Bear and Little One curled up together and waited for spring.”

Just like Big Bear and Little One, most bears spend the spring, summer, and autumn filling up and gaining weight so that their bodies can survive without food during the winter. Bears can make their dens in high tree holes, burrows, or a cave. All they need is a sheltered spot to stay safe and sleep through the cold winter.

To learn more about all sorts of bears, visit National Geographic, Kid Zone, or Live Science. Tell us what your favorite bear facts are, and be sure to look for Little One coming March 1st.