Bears and birdfeeders

Alas, bears and birdfeeders do not go well together.  At this time of year, I keep an eye peeled for the first torn garbage bag to judge when the bears have gotten up.  And sure enough, I saw one on my drive to work last week, so with bitter resentment and sadness, I said goodbye to my fine feathered friends and took in the feeders for another summer.  I will continue to offer water and nesting material and a few birdhouses.  My yard will be filled with warblers and flycatchers andwoodpeckers.  Orioles will trill away from the ancient oaks.  The birds will come and they will nest, but I can not feed them.

Bears have excellent memories and can remember where to find food from season to season.   Once they learn where to find it; they come back. I have seen this.  One spring a few years ago, I walked into the kitchen ready to go for my morning walk when I came to a shocked stand- still.  A bear was right outside the window and making a beeline for the tree where I keep the feeders.  I had taken them in, so there was no smell, but he knew exactly where to go.  He no doubt had sampled the bounty back in the fall.

If you live with bears, be careful.  It is that time of year.


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1 Comment

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One response to “Bears and birdfeeders

  1. OH NO! Oh no oh no! You see… I am not from “bear country” (we never had to worry about bears) and your post and experience with the bear combined with the fact that we had our first black bear (or bears) visit last year AND the fact that our neighbor’s have bee hives (hives that were completely destroyed by the black bear last year), and the fact I’ve been “bear worried” since because I read up on black bears and know they DO return to the same area for food and are now coming out of “hibernation” and might be looking…. well, OH NO! We took the feeders down last year – I was heartbroken to do so, but it was recommended by the wildlife officer who had consulted with our neighbors over his hives. Our neighbor was, in fact, the one who told us about his destroyed hives. He lives across the woods – about a 1/2 mile from us. He said the wildlife officer recommended he hot wire his bee hives. It was within a few weeks after he did so that the bear visited us. We didn’t even know that one of the black bears favorite meals is bird seed. We know now! That bear bent a steel pole to get to the feeder like it was nothing. The tracks of that particular bear last year were very visible, and it was estimated to weigh between 200 and 300 lbs – possibly more. The biggest black bear on record in eastern Carolina is 800 lbs.

    Sorry for taking up so much comment, but the black bear has been on my mind, and your post is a good reminder to me that the black bears are moving rather quickly into areas they didn’t used to inhabit in eastern NC, and there’s no doubt about it – no one wants to run into OR unintentionally attract any bear – especially a mama and cubs. The strange track I saw a few days ago was less than 10 feet from the feeder that is closest to the woods, and the track was headed straight towards the feeder it destroyed last year. I tried to convince myself that it is NOT a bear track, but….. I can’t in good faith do that.

    Have a great day (and a bear-safe one!) I’ll try to do the same. : )

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