Into The Air

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Protecting Your Bird Feeder From Black Bears

As the weather outside becomes warmer and more pleasant, bears around the nation are waking from their long winter slumber hungry and grumpy.

And, where can a bear get easy access to delicious nectar and nutritious food? Your unprotected bird feeder, of course.

News outlets in the northern states are reporting the first signs of hungry bears venturing toward towns and knocking down bird feeders.

While the backyard bird feeder has a number of enemies, including squirrels, cats and raccoons, the bear is by far the most dangerous and destructive. In fact, there aren’t many remedies that keep bears off feeders.

Black bears are major nuisances because they are agile, resourceful and love the same types of food as birds. Their keen sense of smell and ability to climb trees make hiding feeders from them nearly impossible.

Unfortunately, if you live in certain areas, like Waterbury, Vt., you are strongly encouraged to stop feeding birds starting April 1 and take down all feeders until October.

The problem with bears is that they have great memories, so if one year they take down your feeder, they’ll be coming back in subsequent years. Likewise, having easy sources of food encourages them to enter cities and backyards, which increases the danger for bears and humans.

There are other ways to attract birds during this time, including putting up nesting boxes, birdhouses and bird baths.

However, if you are adamant on having your bird feeder up during spring and summer, there are a few things you can do to prevent bears from getting to it. For example, place your feeder atop a pole at least 9 feet off the ground and several feet away from the nearest tree trunk. Although it’s sometimes ineffective (see picture above), hanging the bird feeder high in the trees makes it difficult for bears to reach it.

Another option is to get one of these intense bear-proof bird feeders made in Wisconsin that have a sturdy 9 foot tall pole that goes 4 feet into the ground.

Whatever method you choose to guard against intrusive bears, just make sure this doesn’t happen to your feeder.


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1 Comment

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