So, this is a "no good deed goes unpunished" story.

We keep several bird feeders in a front yard tree, generally year-round. One has generic seed, another sunflower seeds, and a suet container.

We get lots of birds, summer and winter. In the winter we get three types of woodpeckers, chickadees, tufted titmice, brown creepers, gold finches that have wintered over, lesser finches, and the like. Spring/Summer/Fall we have been known to get cardinals, barn swallows, even the occasional Ruby-Breasted Gosbeak.

Sure, we have our share of tree-rats (grey squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks) that we feed and we even have scared off a couple of raccoons last year that made off across the yard with the sunflower seeds.

Last night was different. At about 12:30 a.m. Karen woke me up because the dogs went off. At first, when she turned on the outside light, she thought a raccoon had come and gone.

The the large rounded shadow at the foot of the tree moved an the Mama Black Bear's face came into view as she reached up to snack on the suet.

We think there was a cub in the tree as well -- we never caught sight of him/her but there were weird, strong! branch movements while Mama Black Bear was finishing her snack.

Things I learned:

1) While they may be the smallest bear, they are certainly more than big enough to be concerning.

2) I never knew that a brid feeder made a great hide-a-snack toy, but the way she artfully rolled the thing around, it was clear that she had figured out the lowest-difficulty method for seed extraction.

3) Having a firearm in the house is a good thing when you live in the country. Although she never threatened the house, and we did secure the doors and windows on that side of the house while she was snacking, it felt better that at least there was a chance to scare her off if she decided to take exception to the barking dogs.

4) Barking, confined dogs (i.e. inside the house) won't keep a bear out of the front yard if they learn "it's noisey but not visible".

5) Take all bird feeders in at night if you live outside city limits.

Well, off to work, so that we can feed everyone BUT the bears.



June 2009

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