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Time To Take Down Bird Feeders !

3-25-19 black bears 1214Black Bears have just started to emerge from hibernation in northern New England, and their appetite is fierce. Male black bears will typically drop between 15 and 30 percent of their body weight, while reproductive sows can lose up to 40 percent of their weight over the winter. Although omnivores, a black bear’s diet consists of 85 percent plant material, especially in the spring and summer. At this time of year bears favor the tender emerging shoots of sedge and grasses, willow catkins, leaf buds and skunk cabbage. However, these plants are not always available to them when they first become active. Being opportunists, if bears can’t find natural food sources, they go looking for alternatives, such as those provided by humans.

Sunflower seeds are a Black Bear’s dream come true, nutritionally speaking. A bird feeder full of them replaces hours of foraging in the wild. With an outstanding sense of smell (many times greater than a bloodhound’s), Black Bears will find and raid feeders at this time of year when there is a lack of other food sources. Therefore, if you wish to avoid creating a “nuisance” bear, it is advisable to take down your feeders by April 1st. Black Bears have excellent memories, particularly regarding food sources. They will return time after time, and may resort to unwanted (by humans) behavior in order to get more of the food that was at one time available. Once this occurs, their well-being is jeopardized.

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6 responses

  1. Katherine Fiveash

    Can we bring them in at night and leave them out in the day?

    March 25, 2019 at 7:51 am

    • You can, and I do, Kathie. But at this time of year, bears are hungry enough to be quite brazen, and daytime sightings aren’t all that unusual.

      March 25, 2019 at 8:48 am

  2. Marilyn

    Can they climb up the side of a house? Mine hang on a wire about ten feet above the ground, between my house and garage. The squirrels can’t get at them…

    March 25, 2019 at 8:10 am

    • It would depend on the house, Marilyn. I’ve seen trees climbed in order to get at a high feeder wire. Doubtful they’d try to scale a house, but the drive to eat when they emerge is mighty strong.

      March 25, 2019 at 8:50 am

  3. I will miss having the birds by my deck slider, but don’t want to invite the bears to visit the deck, so the bird feeders are coming down this week.

    March 25, 2019 at 1:00 pm

  4. Alice Pratt

    Must not be a great feeling to wake up ravenous & then have to go search for food, wait till the Bears find out you can order take out.

    March 25, 2019 at 2:01 pm

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