You probably recognize the picture. This is the momma bear and cubs that climbed Snoqualmie homeowner, Megan Miller’s, back fence to feast on her garbage can contents last month. Megan thought she was sitting pretty living on an interior Snoqualmie Ridge home lot - that no bears would get to her garbage can behind a backyard fence. But reality check, bears have amazing sense of smell and love to climb.
I learned from Megan this week her probable momma bear visitor was caught by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, but as she is still lactating and the cubs probably wouldn’t survive without her, she was released. Officials did put a tracking collar on her and this fall/winter when the cubs can survive on their own, she will be re-captured and relocated to the Mount Rainier area.
Megan’s neighbor, whose home backs to the golf course, has also had bear problems.- bird feeder induced problems. Her neighbor’s home had bird feeders hanging from poles in the backyard, which the bears ripped down, poles included.
BEARS are attracted to bird feeders. They LOVE bird seed. Many new Snoqualmie residents may not know this. Megan says she didn’t. So not only is her garbage container locked up, her bird feeders are also gone.
Department of Fish and Wildlife Tip #1:
“If you live in an area with black bears or beside a greenbelt, putting a bird feeder in your yard can literally train bears to come onto your property. Placing feeders close to your house will not keep bears at bay; it will only bring them closer, or even on to your porch. Do not put pet food outside unless you can stay with your pet until he or she is finished, and take the bowl in immediately. Leaving feeders, food, or garbage out only during the day will make the bears adapt to that time of feeding. If you live by bears, put feeders up only during the winter when bears are asleep the majority of the time.”
“The two most vulnerable times for birds are during severe winter weather and when young are being fed. For winter bird feeding, put food out late October/early November when natural food is becoming hard to find. Continue feeding through February and March when food supplies are lowest. If you live in an area with black bears, or in or near greenbelts, put feeders up only in the winter months and discontinue feeding in February.”
Moral of the story? The bears are hungry. We grabbed their woods to build our homes. Don’t intentionally or unintentionally leave out anything for them to snack on or you are training them to love your yard.