Sunday, April 19, 2009

bear attack

Turns out a few slightly sniffly redpolls are the least of my concerns--I've got bigger reasons to take down my feeders.
Please note that I live in a city of 85,000, nowhere near the edge of town or even near any woodsy places bigger than half a block or so, and that my apartment is sandwiched between three very busy streets. All the same, there's a freakin' bear in the yard.

This photo was taken on Thursday evening, and when I woke up that day I saw that the birdfeeder had been pulled down, but the prospect of a bear in the yard was so absurd that I didn't seriously consider it, and i figured that the ground was soft from thawing and freezing, and maybe a really fat racoon tried to climb the shepherd's hook or something and it tipped over. But then Mr. Bear made his presence known that evening while I was making dinner. My dinner companion called 911, but apparently the authorities don't care about bears unless they become threatening, and are, like, actively mauling babies or something. It's great that they're respecting the bear's bearness and all, but I also don't think this is the greatest place for a very large black bear to be hanging out.

Luckily, though, I have a cat blob to protect me:
(Note also, if it's not obvious from the pictures, that I live on the second floor, and that nobody is in any real danger. Unless I decide to walk home through the "woods" behind the house, which I used to do every night after work but which I am never ever doing again now.)

So I took down the feeders--again. The bear eventually did pull down that one shepherd's hook again, and destroyed one feeder, but most of them are intact and the pole isn't even too bent. The internet is telling me to keep the birdfeeders down all summer if there's a bear in the 'hood, but the prospect of that depresses me greatly, so I might try to easing them back out one by one after a week or so and seeing what happens. It is migration season, after all, and it would be very sad to miss all my sparrows this spring.


Circaea said...

I share your mixed feelings about that 911 response. On the one hand, I think wild animals that aren't being unduly dangerous have the right to go where they please. On the other hand, it's a bear.

In the Boston area the conflicts arise with turkeys. They come into the city and eat acorns. Except, as far as the animal control departments are concerned, the turkeys appear to have the right to do whatever they please, including attacking people. Honestly I side with the turkeys on this one. But not the bear.

Sonya said...

I'd side with the turkeys, too. Turkeys don't weigh several hundred pounds or have flesh-rending claws.

It's funny. My landlord used to complain about the 5-10 pigeons that sometimes congregated under the feeders. Oh, if only pigeons (or turkeys) were the biggest birdfeeder nuisance...

greentangle said...

I'll side with the bear. 8 years living here and I never got to see one roaming though I know they've been all around the immediate area.

I wouldn't worry about going through the woods with a black bear in them. The bear is going to avoid you. If the cougar population picks up, that's something to be concerned about.

I was visiting friends near 40th Ave E last week and there were neighborhood reports of a wolf there. Would love to see that too.

Sonya said...

I hesitated in calling 911, because I really didn't want to see a bear get shot in my yard (although to their credit, they did say they would "move the bear along"... I don't know how euphemistic they were being there). But this particular bear looked mangy, so he could have some health issues, and he was also pretty unconcerned about my idiot neighbors yelling at him and throwing things at him, and didn't even seem to notice other neighbors pulling up in their driveway about 20 feet away. And like I said, to get here in the first place he would have had to cross at least one very busy street in broad daylight. So this is not exactly a "more afraid of you than you are of it" bear. I vote for tranquilizing him and giving him a free trip out of town.

greentangle said...

To me this is the type of thing which makes living in Duluth worthwhile, and it's not rare despite my not having seen one. The newspaper had a photo of one on 19th Ave a couple years ago; they've been on the Lakewalk and even downtown. Not wanting to experience it is as baffling to me as living here and hating winter.

A few years ago I went on a bear walk in town with Lynn Rogers, the guy near Ely who's spent thousands of hours with bears, and a DNR person. We went along Tischer Creek and then to a neighborhood where several bears den, and the DNR woman talked about why they don't bother bears in neighborhoods.

Here's a video of 3 bears wandering a Duluth neighborhood.