The Food Habits of Polar Bears of James Bay and Southwest Hudson Bay in Summer and Autumn

  • Richard H. Russell
Keywords: polar bear, food habits, James Bay, southwest Hudson Bay


A study of summer and autumn food habits of polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps) on some islands of James Bay and the coastal mainland of southwest Hudson Bay was conducted in 1968 and 1969. Analyses were made of 233 scats collected from islands in James Bay and 212 scats gathered on the southwest coast of Hudson Bay. Birds, primarily Anatidae, were the most commonly used summer and autumn food of bears in James Bay. Marine algae and grasses were the foods most often eaten by bears on the mainland. The diet of the bears from James Bay probably provides a better preparation for winter than the diet of those from the mainland, but evidence suggests that bears in both regions are generally in good physical condition.