Black bear burgles birdseed

I should know better.

It was 4:00am and, it being a lovely summer’s night, the bedroom windows were wide open. In a few minutes, as the dusk softened, the birds would start to chatter and sing, waking me for a new day. Instead, I awoke to hear a clattering out on the deck, like the sound of a hanger being tossed around on a clothes rack. I knew what was happening even before I got up to investigate.

We are fortunate to live in a rural area with nearly every sort of wildlife – bear, moose, deer, fox, coyote, bobcat, fisher, mink, groundhog, beaver, not to mention birds and countless small critters. I’ve had even greater good fortune to see each of those, and to photograph a few. We know bears are hungry in the spring, and it is well known that bears will seek out birdfeeders, as birdseed is rich in fat and nutrients. I failed to bring the birdfeeders inside last night, as our black-bear neighbor discovered on his morning rounds.

A black bear tears down our birdfeeder for breakfast.

It was still rather dark, and although I could see well, the iPhone XR doesn’t quite have sufficient dynamic range. After the bear polished off one birdfeeder, and headed for the second, I turned on the outdoor lights. That didn’t faze the bear at all, but allowed me to capture the final four minutes of his visit on video. At the end, you can see our cat, watching intently, growling softly.

This behavior is not good for the bear, or for us. Or for the birdfeeders 😉. It’s my responsibility to remember to bring in those birdfeeders every night… or to delay using birdfeeders until later in the summer.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

3 thoughts on “Black bear burgles birdseed”

  1. Sorry Dave, but my inner grammar policeman cringed when you used “phase” when you should have used “faze”.

    Definition of faze
    transitive verb

    : to disturb the composure of : DISCONCERT, DAUNT
    Nothing fazed her.
    Criticism did not seem to faze the writer.

  2. Bear at your feeders. Thanks, a very good write-up! After bear visits, we no longer feed birds and are finding that we get just as many, or even more, without feeders. Swallows swoop and Phoebe’s fly through the air eating insects; robins and cardinal pairs hop into the garden, feeding their young on tics and worms. Hummingbirds visit the honeysuckle morning, noon, and night. And the Baltimore Orioles are still around in the tree tops. When the hawks, and yesterday an eagle, soar above, the birds quickly disappear.

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