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Tag Archive | "bears"

Taking action now can reduce bear problems later


Property owners can help prevent problems with bears by removing food sources like bird feeders now.

With longer daylight hours and warming temperatures causing wildlife to start to move, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources advises property owners that now is the time to look around and see if they have items that soon may be attracting bears.

“The ideal situation is for a bear to walk past your property, not find a food reward and move along on its own,” said DNR wildlife communication coordinator Katie Keen. “That’s the best way to live with bears and not encourage conflict.”

Black bears—an “up north” Michigan icon decorating many homes, restaurants and hotels—can be found throughout more than half the state. Spotting a bear tends to draw a lot of interest and attention. 

“Everyone picks up the phone to call us looking for advice at a different point,” Keen said. “For some, seeing a black bear is enough. For others, it may be regular or daytime visits that make them uneasy.”

Bears find birdseed and suet especially attractive, as they are high-calorie and reliable compared to other plentiful and natural food sources. Bird feeders can draw bears past their natural habitat, where they would normally be enjoying roots of early spring plants and insects in trees and logs. Bears also typically will continue to return to a location once they have found a food reward there.

“The majority of calls we receive about bears involve a bird feeder. Taking the feeders down before they are found by a bear can eliminate future problems,” said Keen. “A bear doesn’t just forget an easy meal, and wild animals can pick up habits.”  

During the spring and early summer, phone calls to the DNR from home and business owners frustrated with bear activity increase. While it is legal to feed birds, property owners may be creating an irreversible safety issue by providing food for bears. 

“Bears that receive a food reward when around homes, yards and neighborhoods typically lose their natural fear of humans and can become a potential threat to people and their pets,” Keen added.

The easiest thing people can do to avoid problems with bears is remove bird feeders during the spring and summer months. With an estimated 2,000-plus adult bears in the northern Lower Peninsula and almost 10,000 in the Upper Peninsula, there are plenty of bears searching for natural food that is plentiful in forests, fields and wetlands.

“Many people who live in northern Michigan remove their bird feeders during the spring and summer, but every year the spring sneaks up on us and suddenly, it is now that time of year,” said Keen. 

Wild animals should be appreciated from a distance. Michigan residents can help their neighborhoods and communities by removing bird feeders and other attractants. Garbage cans, dumpsters, barbeque grills, restaurant grease bins and bee hives also can attract bears to areas people frequent.

For your safety, never intentionally feed or try to tame bears – it is in your, and the bear’s, best interest. It is critical that bears retain their natural fear of humans.

Learn more about Michigan’s black bears and how to prevent potential problemsby visiting michigan.gov/bear or by watching “The Bear Essentials” video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6c1c3qw7dg.

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Living in bear country


OUT-Bear-Country

Remove bird feeders now to reduce conflicts with bears later

Longer daylight hours, warming temperatures and new green plants have wildlife moving and sightings increasing. Michigan’s black bear is a species that attracts a lot of attention when spotted. Michiganders love black bears—this  up-north icon decorates walls and coffee mugs, homes, restaurants and hotels. However, spring also brings increased phone calls to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from home and business owners who have issues with bears.

“Everyone has a different point when they are going to pick up the phone and call us,” said DNR wildlife communications coordinator Katie Keen. “The majority of calls we receive about bears involve a bird feeder that has been visited multiple times. Taking the feeder down before it’s found by a bear can eliminate future problems. A bear doesn’t forget a free meal.”

Keen said that the easiest thing people living in bear country can do to avoid problems is remove bird feeders during the spring and summer months. Black bears are found throughout more than half the state. With an estimated 2,000-plus adult bears in the northern Lower Peninsula and almost 10,000 in the Upper Peninsula, there are a lot of bears searching for food, even with plenty of natural food sources available.

Bears find bird seed and suet especially attractive because of their high fat content compared to other natural food sources, and these foods draw bears out of their natural habitat, where normally they would be eating roots of early spring plants and insect larvae.

Once a bird feeder is discovered, a bear will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeder has been removed.

“Bears that receive a food reward when around homes, yards and neighborhoods typically lose their natural fear of humans and can become a threat to humans and pets,” said Keen. “If a bear walks through your property and no food reward is given, the bear will move along on its own. Help your community and keep bears at a distance. Bears are smart, so be smarter, and remove your bird feeders so you don’t attract bears to your property.”

For your safety, never intentionally feed or try to tame bears—it is in your, and the bear’s, best interest.

Learn more about Michigan’s black bear and how to prevent potential bear problems by visiting http://tinyurl.com/michiganbears and watching “The Bear Essentials” video or visiting mi.gov/bear.

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Bears sighted in Algoma, Newaygo


This photo of a bear was taken at the US131 exit to 14 Mile Road. It appeared on Woodtv.com.

This photo of a bear was taken at the US131 exit to 14 Mile Road. It appeared on Woodtv.com.

By Judy Reed

Bears are on the move, and have been seen recently in communities closer to home.

On Monday, June 8, deputies from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report that a vehicle had struck a bear in M-37 near 24th Street in Newaygo County. The bear died at the scene, but the driver was not injured. They turned the bear over to the DNR, along with three cubs they found in the area, that they presumed were hers.

On Tuesday, June 9, a man sent a photo to WoodTV.com through reportit, saying he had spotted a bear just off the US131 exit at 14 Mile, in Algoma Township, about 4 p.m. Alan Brunges snapped the photo with his cellphone.

It’s not the first bear spotted nearby. A few years ago the Post ran a photo from a surveillance camera that caught footage of a bear in a yard in Nelson Township.

Bears have also been sighted in Ottawa County and even further south.

To keep bears away from your yard, remove bird feeders, garbage bins, and other sources of food.

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Spring weather has bears on the move


Cutline: Bird feeders are an easy source of food for hungry bears in the spring. Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Cutline: Bird feeders are an easy source of food for hungry bears in the spring. Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR.


Bird seed and trash attract hungry bears

Spring is here, which brings warmer temperatures, longer days and wildlife emerging from their winter homes. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds residents that black bears are among those animals that are now awake and have left their dens.
At this time of the year, wildlife officials receive many calls about bear sightings and bears damaging bird feeders, trash cans and grills.

“Bears are hungry,” said DNR bear specialist Kevin Swanson. “They are looking for food after spending months in their dens. While we might not think of bird feeders and trash cans as food sources, a hungry bear certainly may.” Bird seed especially is attractive to bears because of its high fat content and easy accessibility. Once bird feeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed.

“The majority of complaints we receive about bears in the spring involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid problems is to take in their bird feeders and store other attractants like trash cans inside until garbage pickup,” Swanson said. “Once the woods green up, bears tend to move on to find more natural sources of food, as long as they haven’t become habituated to the bird seed or garbage cans.”

Bears that are rewarded with food each time they visit a yard will remember these food sources. This can create an unsafe situation for the bear and become a nuisance for landowners if a bear continuously visits their yards during the day and repeatedly destroys private property in search of food.

“We ask landowners to do their part by eliminating the food sources in their yards,” said Swanson. “Given time and no food reward, a bear will move along on its own.”

Anyone who is experiencing problems with bears and has removed food sources for a period of two to three weeks, but has not seen results, should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.

Learn more about Michigan’s black bear and how to prevent potential problems by visiting www.michigan.gov/bear.

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Spring weather has bears and other wildlife on the move


 

Although some areas of the state may still have several feet of snow on the ground, Michigan’s wildlife knows the spring season, with an increase in daylight hours, is here. Animals are beginning to wake up from winter hibernation; bears are among those starting to emerge from their dens.

Food and mating are the two drivers behind the increase in wildlife that Michigan residents may be seeing lately. Since bears typically mate in June or July, food is the primary cause for the increase in bear activity during the spring.

“At this time of year, bears are looking for food,” said Department of Natural Resources bear and furbearer specialist Adam Bump. “They are hungry after spending months in their dens. While we might not think of bird feeders and trash cans as food sources, a hungry bear certainly may.”

Each spring, as bears leave their winter dens and resume daily activity, wildlife officials begin receiving calls about bear sightings and even the occasional bear damaging bird feeders, trash cans and grills.

Birdseed, because of its high fat content and easy accessibility, is especially attractive to bears. Once bird feeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed.

“The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears in the spring 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,” Bump said. “Once the woods green up, bears tend to move on to find more natural sources of food, as long as they haven’t become habituated to the birdseed or garbage cans.”

Bears that are rewarded with food each time they visit a yard can become habituated to these food sources unintentionally provided by people. 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.

DNR Wildlife Division staff members are unable to respond directly to each nuisance bear complaint and instead ask that landowners do their part to help reduce potential food sources in their yards before calling for further assistance. The trapping of nuisance bears is only authorized by DNR wildlife officials in cases of significant property damage or threats to human safety when other techniques have failed.

Anyone who is experiencing problems with nuisance bears and has taken the appropriate action to remove food sources for a period of two to three weeks, but has not seen results, should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/bear.

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Prevent nuisance bear problems


Put away birdfeeders, trash cans

 

Each spring as hibernating bears leave their winter dens and resume daily activity, wildlife officials in northern Michigan receive many calls about bears hanging around and even destroying man-made food sources such as birdfeeders, trash cans and grills. This year has been no exception, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

A bear was also recently seen in downtown Greenville, Lowell, and near the Ford Airport in Grand Rapids.

“At this time of year, bears are on the move and are looking for food,” said DNR bear specialist Adam Bump. “They are hungry after spending months hibernating, and will often resort to finding food in unnatural places, such as residential backyards.”

Bird seed is especially attractive to bears because it is a high-energy food and relatively easy to find. Once birdfeeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed.

“The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears this time of year involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to temporarily take in their birdfeeders and store other attractants, like grills, trash cans and pet food, in a garage or storage shed,” Bump said. “Once the woods green up, bears tend to move on to find more natural sources of food, as long as they haven’t become habituated to the bird seed or garbage cans.”

Bears can become habituated to man-made food sources, which can create an unsafe situation for the bear, and a nuisance situation for landowners if they have a bear continuously visiting their yard during the day and repeatedly destroying private property in search of food.

DNR Wildlife Division staff members are unable to respond directly to each nuisance bear complaint, and instead ask that landowners do their part to help reduce potential food sources in their yards first before calling for further assistance. The trapping of nuisance bears is only authorized by DNR wildlife officials in cases of significant property damage or threats to human safety.

Anyone experiencing problems with nuisance bears (who has taken the appropriate action to remove food sources for a period of two to three weeks but has not seen results) should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.

 

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Leave wildlife in the wild


From the DNR

 

Unseasonably warm weather may have Michigan’s black bears and recently born cubs out roaming earlier than usual. Great-horned owl chicks are already hatched and will be out of the nest before long. Spring is the season for wildlife to give birth. The Department of Natural Resources reminds Michigan residents to resist the instinct to try to help baby animals that may appear to be abandoned because in nearly every case a parent is nearby and the baby animal is not abandoned.

“The truth is, the animal doesn’t need help. For example, even if a fawn appears to be abandoned, its mother is almost always nearby,” said DNR wildlife ecologist Sherry MacKinnon. “We appreciate the good intentions of those who want to help, but the animals are better off left alone than removed from the wild.”

MacKinnon said it’s not uncommon for does to leave their young unattended for up to eight hours at a time; an anti-predator strategy that minimizes scent left around the newborn animals. “The same holds true for rabbits, ground-dwelling birds and other wildlife,” she said. “Even avian parents will continue to care for hatchlings that have fallen from a nest.”

The DNR advises that:

*Many baby animals will die if removed from their natural environment, and some have diseases or parasites that can be passed on to humans or pets.

*Some “rescued” animals that do survive become habituated to people and are unable to revert back to life in the wild. It is illegal to possess a wild deer or any other wild animals in Michigan, and every day a deer spends with humans makes it that much less likely to be able to survive in the wild.

*Eventually, habituated animals pose additional problems as they mature and develop adult animal behaviors. Habituated deer, especially bucks, can become aggressive as they mature, and raccoons are well-known for this, too.

“If you come across a deer or other animal that you are certain has been orphaned early in the year—for example, if a doe is dead nearby—please call your local DNR office. They can refer you to a licensed rehabilitator,” said MacKinnon. “Licensed rehabilitators are trained to handle wild animals and know how to release them so that they can survive in the wild.” Michigan licensed rehabilitators are also listed on the DNR website at http://www.michigandnr.com/dlr/.

 

 

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