Bears are definitely some of the most ferocious predators in the world. They are huge, bulky creatures with immense strength, they can run surprisingly fast, up to 40 miles per hour, they are very proficient swimmers, they are very resilient, and they are eerily smart. Luckily for us, they sleep for up to eight months a year.
But this year might be different for people living near forests where bears are known to slumber, as officials from the department of Fish and Game warn citizens to remove bird feeders because of bears waking up early. Because of climate change and a particularly hot summer, bears have already started waking up from hibernation and looking for food.
Bird feeders are a danger
As bears are waking up from their month-old slumber, they do so with a single thought on their minds – food. And since nature’s forest tanks weren’t dangerous enough already, they have one of the strongest senses of smell in nature. And they can smell anything, no matter how well you think it’s covered up.
Bird feeders particularly are a danger to both humans and bears. The furry mammals can smell seeds in bird feeders from miles away, and bird seed is one of the animals’ favorite foods. This happens particularly after hibernation, as bears need to restock on calories. And a 7 pound bird feeder can contain as much as 12,000 calories.
According to Fish and Game collected data, as many as 80% of all human-bear conflicts are caused by bird feeders. They aren’t only dangerous to humans, by attracting bears to their houses, but also for the bears, as they can get injured or even killed trying to just eat some seeds.
Stay safe, bird person
So what can you do if you live near the forest and you want to make sure you won’t end up with a hungry, vicious animal in or near your house? Well, there are some very simple guidelines that will keep you more than 80% safe. Although if you live near the woods, you probably never are 100% safe from animal attacks.
First of all, authorities suggest stopping bird feeding as soon as possible, and suggest resuming it only in December. Using bear-proof bird feeders isn’t enough, as the animals can still smell the seed and be drawn to it. Additionally, you should clean up any leftover seed, as it can serve as a frustrating attractant to bears.
Food leftovers should never be left outside overnight, even in the garbage. People being proactive is the only way human-bear conflicts can be avoided. 2015, for example, saw the lowest number of human-bear clashes, with only 394 complaints.
Image source: Wikimedia