Here I Come to Save the Day!

Yes, that little bear is extremely cute. I received the photo from resident biologist Ed, who knew I would coo and ooh over the cute, baby black bear stuck in the tree. The baby bear was released, safe and sound, but Ed suggests I use this opportunity to help him out. Each spring, the bears wake up famished from their long winter’s fast. They head out in search of whatever food they can find. Since bears are omnivores, they will eat grasses, berries, fruit, nuts, seeds, insects, grubs, and carrion (dead, rotting animals - yum), as well as human sources of food like corn, honey, bird seed, trash, and pet food when available. The important part of that sentence is the human sources of food when available. The problem is bears fed human food become “bad bears.” They start to equate humans with food and then become unafraid of humans, not because they want to hurt us, rather, they just want some food. In order to keep bears from being too familiar toward you and I, the first rule is DO NOT FEED THE BEARS. Honestly, I had to be taught this lesson when we moved to the Adirondacks years ago. This Jersey Girl thought it was pretty cool to see a bear in backyard, chowing down on our compost. It actually was pretty cool: he would sit on top of the wooden wall of the compost bin, reach down with a paw and haul out a hand full of goodies and stuff it in his mouth. I could turn on the backyard spotlight and catch him in the act. He didn’t give a hoot, he just kept on eating. I had my own private circus going. Then one time, a bear who was looking for some garbage put his hands (front paws?) on our deck with Ed standing right there, and was not inclined to leave despite yelling and screaming at him. He was hungry and it was scary. Despite feeling put out and calling my husband a grumpy Dudley Doo-Right, I now follow the rules and no longer try to lure bears to our yard with the promise of a free lunch.
This begins the time of year when the hard-working folks at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation get loads of people calling to complain about the black bears. I’ve been told if people just follow a few guidelines found at this link, you’ll be black bear free in no time.
And don’t call me Nell.

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