Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I think a bear got into my bird feeder...

Q. I woke up to find my bird feeder pole bent over. Even though we live in a subdivision, I think a bear got into it. I also found my garbage cans plundered. There are bears in the mountains a few miles away. Do you have any suggestions to prevent this?

A. I also suspect you were visited by a bear. It would take a mighty big dog to bend a pole like that. I haven't had any such experience apart from camping, but I'll offer a few thoughts anyway.

I see that you have suet cages on your feeder. Suet could be the main attraction because it's mostly fat. Bears are omnivorous, which means that in addition to fruits, seeds and insects, they also eat meat or fat. Suet, of course, is fat mixed with seeds, sometimes fruits and even insects. YUMMY!

I also see that you have children, judging from the toys around. Bears could become a danger to your little ones as well as yourself if they become accustomed to finding food in your backyard.

So, I suggest you avoid attracting them by doing one or more of the following:
  • Keep your garbage cans in your garage, if you have one; 
  • Stop using the suet cages for awhile, or stop feeding the birds altogether;
  • While you're at it, remove anything else that bears might like to eat;
  • If you must feed the birds, suspend your feeder from a cable strung between sturdy steel posts or trees so the bears can't get at them.
I hope this is helpful.

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