Monday, May 25, 2015

Black Bear

Hot, humid and breezy this Memorial Day Monday. And dry. The story of this spring I guess.

We saw a black bear ambling through the yard behind the Birch Garden this morning. Very big, very black, and unconcerned with us. The GPS radio collar on its neck was visible so it was a bear whose movements the wildlife department tracks, probably because this one is a known nuisance near homes.
Not our bear (camera was not at hand) but this is what our visitor looked like

In the afternoon I went over to water my neighbor's pots, since they are away for Memorial Day weekend. Jim insisted he go with me, and he carried a stick and whistled the theme song from the movie 'Brazil' which he apparently has determined scares bears.

My neighbor's hummingbird feeder was on the ground, the pole was bent at an angle, and it was clearly the work of a black bear with a sweet tooth. Her feeder was at the edge of her patio, just a few feet from the doors that lead from their bedroom onto the patio. That's close.

Should I take down our hummingbird feeder, which is also just feet from our door?

I'm not really afraid of encountering the bear. Black bears are usually not threatening or aggressive, but I don't want it quite so close to the house, and I don't want our hummingbird feeder ruined.

It puts me in mind of a warning found on a park sign in British Columbia that details safety practices around bears. The picture of it is not in great focus, so if you can't read it, scroll below and read the words.

It contains good advice, although it never mentions whistling "Brazil" as a deterrent. The sign says:
Due to the frequency of human-bear encounters, the B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen and any persons that use the out of doors in a recreational or work related function to take extra precautions while in the field. 
We advise the outdoorsman to wear little noisy bells on clothing so as to give advance warning to any bears that might be close by so you don't take them by surprise. 
We also advise anyone using the out of doors to carry "Pepper Spray" with him in case of an encounter with a bear. 
Outdoorsmen should also be on the watch for fresh bear activity, and be able to tell the difference between black bear feces and grizzly bear feces. Black bear feces is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear shit has bells in it and smells like pepper.
Now I know.


  1. This would be a little unsettling to me, interesting though. I giggled at the thought of "whistling Brazil" to deter the bear. The bear might think him a big juicy bird to eat.

    1. It was unsettling to me too. So close. And it's big animal!!