Wednesday, October 17, 2012 Should have waited...

Last night around 1:30 in the morning, I awoke to a terrible, disorienting, crashing, scraping, and creaking. What in the world?! Was my roof collapsing? Was someone trying to break into the house though the wall?

I leapt out of bed and rushed to the windows to peer outside. Nothing, nothing, then OH! A black bear stood on its hind legs, batting at the squirrel-proof bird feeder that I had installed so recently. I raced around to the window and raised the blinds. Rap! Rap! Rap! Rap! "Bad BEAR!" I shouted, knowing all along it was a good bear led astray. Rap! Rap! Rap! Rap! "Bad BEAR!" The valiant dog added her opinion to the situation, and the bear, much smaller now on all 4s, decided the dining was no longer very pleasant and reluctantly wandered away across the yard.

I went back to bed, ready to remove the feeders first thing in the morning. Bang! Crash! The bear was back, whacking the feeder against the window and feasting on the spilled seeds. Once again, I rapped on the glass and shouted. Then I threw my jeans and coat on over my pjs, hopped in my boots and went outside.

What an unexpected, stunning night! The whole sky shimmered with stars; Orion rose in the east with Jupiter, just as he did over Kodiak a few weeks ago. A skiff of new snow brightened the whole yard.  The good dog, looking more like a black Ridgeback than a Lab, was thrilled to clear the area for me. I stepped around the fresh bear scat on the deck and removed the still intact feeder, intact except for about 5 pounds of sunseeds.

Then I checked the one in the front yard inside the cat exclosure fence. That bear didn't bother to use the entry area, but just climbed over in a beeline to the feeder and bent down the fence. Then it knocked the feeder's squirrel guard off and drained the whole #15 of seeds onto the ground and gorged. There wasn't much left of the feeder to remove, but I took it away anyway.

I should have waited longer for the bears to hibernate. After the flood, I didn't hear of any in the area and thought it was safe. I feel terrible for letting this bear feed on my birdseed. If it lives to next year, I'm sure it will remember what a great place I have for delicious, fresh sunflower seeds, and if it's a female, she will introduce her cubs to this wonderful spot.  "Ah," she'll reminisce, licking her lips, "here's where I feasted that starry night. It was SCRUMPTIOUS!"

After I removed the feeders, there was no further interest and all was quiet. In the morning, the Steller's Jays and Black-billed Magpies were more than happy to help clean up the scattered seeds left on the ground.

Lesson learned, I hope!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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