Native chokecherries are super astringent to our taste, but the prolific berries are a mainstay for black bears, which in mid-August begin “hyperphagia,” a feeding frenzy to bulk up for hibernation.
The bears now spend up to 20 hours a day foraging, tripling their usual calorie intake and gaining about 4 pounds a day. The feast usually lasts through September, or until chokecherries and other wild foods become scarce. In October, metabolism slows way down, and the now-lethargic but very plump bears head for their dens.
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