Before posting some pretty amazing bear photos, we need to familiarize ourselves with the importance of Churchill. The town sits on the shore of the Hudson Bay, which is an extension of the northern Atlantic and Arctic oceans, and penetrates deep into the continent.
Because of the direction of the currents and the winds, the little bay around Churchill (visible if you stretch your eyes) is where the sea ice first forms in early winter. Polar bears spend their winters on the sea ice, hunting for seals. In fact, winter is the season of action for them: the Polar bear is a marine mammal; it does not hunt on land and only feeds on seals, when they come up on the ice to rest or give birth. It's essentially a seasonal worker! But it takes the summer off, instead of being a lifeguard or something.
There, the Polar bear tries to spend as little energy as possible, as it will eat nothing until the next winter comes! A male bear which weighs around 1600 pounds (800 kilos) at the beginning of summer, will lose close to 500 pounds (250 kilos) during the summer just doing nothing! Like most diets, they'll regain it in the winter. The only area where there is some action is with the females, but that's for another post.
Finally in late October, winter is at the doorstep. The bears can literally smell it! As the first snows fall, and the freshwater lakes and streams begin to freeze, the bears get up and congregate as close to the shore as they can, eagerly awaiting the sea ice to form.
As the temperature gets colder, the bears are more excited. After being unemployed and hungry for nearly five months, they form their own Occupy Hudson Bay gathering (minus the tents), wander around with nervousness mixed with adrenaline, and demand their job back.
In coming posts we will share some nice pictures and stories about the life of the polar bears on Hudson Bay. In the meanwhile, read my post So What About This Arctic Bug?