When we returned home from town on the afternoon of Sunday, July 2, I noticed a problem with our bird feeders. What was the problem? They were missing! Plus, the shepherd's hook that one of them had been hanging on was bent backward. Considering how securely the other 2 bird feeders had been attached to the tree, we were immediately able to deduce that a bear had visited us. The feeders were all in place when we left that morning, so we had a feeling we may have disturbed the bear when we arrived home. If so, we knew he would be back. Better charge the battery in the camera!
I began to put away the groceries while Mr. Cut Off was changing out of his church clothes. Suddenly, I heard Mr. Cut Off yell (very loudly and excitedly), "He's back! Get the camera!" I was so startled that I almost dropped the bananas! I certainly never expected the bear to return that quickly! Oh, foo! The camera was in the great room; the battery was charging in an outlet in the kitchen. I grabbed the battery and the camera and rushed to the bedroom. Foo again! Just missed him. He had also heard Mr. Cut Off yell. (I said it was loud.) Mr. Cut Off told me what I had missed. The bear had wandered back out of the woods to check for more birdseed on the ground. That's when Mr. Cut Off spotted him. When he yelled, the bear stood up on his hind legs in an attempt to determine the source of that loud noise he had just heard. He probably spotted Mr. Cut Off moving about through the bedroom window and made a hasty retreat into the woods. That's when I arrived in the room.
Was the bear gone for good? We didn't think so. I returned to the kitchen to work on dinner - keeping the camera within reach at all times. Mr. Cut Off joined me a bit later to help cut up the avocado and egg for his salad. This is when all the glass on the back side of our house comes in real handy. I glanced up as I was setting the table and thought I saw a shadow over where the bear had been. Uh, that was no shadow. It's the bear! So exciting! I grabbed the camera and we ran back to the bedroom for a closer look. I started snapping pictures, but the bear didn't seem to mind.
Yeah, he was looking at me. Or is it a she? Beats me! All the windows were closed (if you're wondering).
I guess he decided I wasn't a threat, so he moved along - pawing at the ground to get every last bit of birdseed he could find.
He got up on his hind legs and checked out 2 of the birdhouses mounted on the trees. Unfortunately, I was fiddling with the video setting on the camera at the time and missed those shots. The birdseed must have made him thirsty, as he then stopped to get a drink out of the birdbath.
We have another birdhouse mounted on a post halfway across the backyard, and he wandered over to check that one out next. The sun was causing such a glare through the sliding doors in the great room that those photos didn't turn out. Oh well. He then started back toward the birdbath and I got some decent video of him checking out the last birdhouse we have mounted on a tree. Click on the following link to watch him in action:
Mr. Cut Off went out later to survey the damage and found the feeders in the woods in back of the rocks. The bear had completely destroyed the 3 tube feeders, but he left the finch sock feeder alone. Since moving out here, Mr. Cut Off has perfected his bird feeder repair skills, but these were way, way, way beyond repair. He picked up some new feeders the next day but was careful to bring them in at night. All was fine for a week until he accidentally (that's what he tells me) left one of them out one night. Yup, it was missing the next morning. Mr. Cut Off did find it, though, and was able to salvage it. The current plan of action is to leave the bird feeders down for a couple of weeks. The berries in the woods should ripen by then, so the bear should have more to eat without bothering us.
If you're keeping track, that's:
Bear - 3
Bird Feeders - 1
Birdseed - 0
All is well in the Keweenaw.