Monday, May 11, 2015

Visits from a Bear and Her Cubs

Around 11 AM I went out on the deck to see if I could find the vireo that was singing it's repetitive song in the trees to the northwest. I'm looking and looking when I hear one of the bird feeders behind me go "CLANK." I turn around and there's a black bear calmly sitting there holding the feeder with one paw as it licks the sunflower seeds out.

About 250 pounds of Momma Bear

I go back inside to get the little point-and-shoot camera, come back out and snap a couple of pictures. The bear hasn't moved. I yell at it from the deck and it gives me this, "You talkin' to me?" look as it continues to lick sunflower seed like they were an ice cream cone on a hot day.

I bang a broom against the deck (it's mostly plastic and makes one hell of a racket). The bear ignores me.

I go down the steps toward the bear, pick up a couple of stones and toss them at the bear. The first two miss (from less than 10 yards!) but the third hits the bear in the hind quarter and it makes a leap and then slowly heads up the hill, stops at the base of a fairly large oak tree and sits down.

Three little cubs come clamoring, skittering down the oak and Mom leads them up the hill and out of my sight.

I collect all the bird feeders and bring them indoors.


Later, Mom comes back alone having stashed the cubs somewhere and heads for the area where the bird feeders were. I yell, bang the broom and generally make a pest out of myself until she heads around the back of the house where I lose sight of her.

Half hour later I go back onto the deck and she runs out from underneath where she must have been feeding on the seeds the birds had dropped from those feeders. She ambled off into the woods.

Not long after, I'm laying on the couch reading when I hear Chester make a ruckus at the screen door. I look and the bear is on the other side of the door looking confused. It probably smelled the seed and suet I had brought inside. Chester had torn the screen with his claws. He probably wanted to go out and play but was having second thoughts. I slammed the sliding door closed and the bear went down the steps and off into the woods. Again

Then, around 6:30 PM I look out and see her coming back. The three cubs scurry up a big white pine on the other side of the yard and Mom heads for the seeds under the deck again. I look out the basement doors and she's laid out like a big dog just licking up the seeds. I make some noise and bang on the doors and she heads off to the pine. I come upstairs and out on the making more noise and the bear goes off to the pine. I thought she was going to collect her kids and go on her way.

I even got the hose out and watered the lawn shortly after 7 PM with no sign of Mom and her kids.

BUT I WAS WRONG about her moving on. She came back and was enjoying more seeds from the ground at 9:00PM. It sounds like the kids moved to a different tree on the other side of the yard, however. I could hear some rustling of leaves from where I stood on the deck but couldn't catch a glimpse of them. I did all I could to get Mom to leave from my vantage point above her but she wasn't having any of it. She had found an easy source of food and was going to lap up as much as she could. Finally, I had to drop a couple pieces of scrap wood on her head from directly above her and bang on the deck rail to get her to move. Whether that will work or not is anybody's guess. Those cubs are anchor babies if there ever were any such thing. As long as they stay where they are, she'll come back.

I guess I'll not be putting any feeders out for the next few days and my head will be on a swivel every time I step out into the yard.

Just another day in paradise.


threecollie said...

I do not envy you your bears, no how, no way. So far we have been spared and I hope it stays that way. Nice photo though.

Ruth said...

Good luck!

Thats one we've never had in the yard here. I know there's bear in the area, every couple years one makes the news when they knock over someone's beehive, but we've never seen hide, hair, or tracks of one here. I'm crossing my fingers it stays that way!

joated said...

We get them every year...except during hunting season.

Rev. Paul said...

The blackies that take up residence in a single neighborhood here generally wind up on the business end of a Fish & Wildlife rifle. I hope Mama & the cubs move on before becoming a real problem.

joated said...

Paul, that's my concern too. She came back today and I did my best to discourage her but she's far.

I'm hoping she figures out she's not welcome and stay up in the woods, but with three hungry little ones, she's probably looking for an easy feed so she doesn't have to work too hard to produce milk.

Meanwhile, I've got a load of angry birds who are looking for a free handout of their own.