Time To Take Down Bird Feeders

It’s that time of year again…words to the wise…

Naturally Curious with Mary Holland

3-17-15 black bear-eating sunflower seeds  IMG_3607To prevent black bears from visiting backyard bird feeders, Fish & Wildlife Departments in New England recommend taking down birdfeeders from April 1st through December 1st. This year those dates are fairly conservative, as bears were visiting feeders after December 1st, and several have been seen frequenting feeders this month. The idea is to remove anything outdoors that would be of any interest to a bear which has just emerged from hibernation and is desperate for food.

Approximately 85% of a bear’s diet is vegetation. Before green shoots make an appearance in the spring, flower parts of aspen, willow, maple, ash and hazelnut, along with carrion, make up most of a bear’s diet. After losing 23% of its body weight during hibernation, a black bear finds protein-packed sunflower seeds very appealing. Make sure your garbage is secured, barbeques clean and pet food kept indoors, as well as your feeders. Keeping…

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About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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7 Responses to Time To Take Down Bird Feeders

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    I think my bird feeders are fairly safe 🙂 Unfortunately.

  2. WOW…I never thought about that! I live in southeastern Wisconsin…I think smack in the middle of West and East. In any case, haven’t seen any bears around this location; however, about ten years ago, a bear managed to swim down the Milwaukee River right into the heart of the city! He was carefully transferred north. My parents lived in northern Wisconsin upon retirement. Some bears visited their home, since they lived about 500ft. from a lake. I do believe my Mom had the bird feeders filled all summer — I guess they were fortunate that nothing catastrophic happened.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I’ve heard of them breaking into homes, garages and even parked cars around here. The best thing is just to remove temptation. When I see a bear I holler and shoo it away. I don’t want to see them too comfortable around humans. That could spell their doom. We have a saying, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” We take it pretty seriously.

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