It might be hard to believe black bears see a bird feeder as food source, but they do. Bird feeders, garbage cans and barbeque grills are all bear attractants that humans can control.
Food, mating, and young bears establishing their own territories are all reasons bears are more noticeable right now. Bears typically mate in June or July, and the mother will kick out her yearlings in order to do so.
“Bears are looking for food and new territory,” said DNR bear and furbearer specialist Adam Bump. “While we might not think of bird feeders and trash cans as food sources, a hungry bear certainly may.
“The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to take in their bird feeders and store other attractants—like grills, trash cans and pet food—in a garage or storage shed.”
Bird seed is especially attractive to bears because of its high fat content and ease of access. Once bird feeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed. Bears are capable of remembering reliable food sources from year to year.
Bears that are rewarded with food each time they visit a yard can become habituated to man-made food sources. This can create an unsafe situation for the bear and become a nuisance for landowners if a bear continuously visits their yard during the day and repeatedly destroys private property in search of food.
Those who have taken appropriate actions to remove food sources for a period of two to three weeks, but are not seeing results, should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.
For more information about bears go to www.michigan.gov/bear.