- Black Bear on Keats -

So May 10th found me sitting on the lawn working on some fish net for a deer fence we're putting up at our new garden/orchard. Our cat, Amber Longshanks, was being a total pest-getting caught in the net and all-for what is a net but thousands of feet of string, right? All of a sudden it occurred to me that Amber wasn't there any more. I casually glanced around and couldn't see her. Hearing a noise behind me I was rather surprised, to say the least, to turn around and see a black bear had approached to within fifteen feet of me! Smart cat!

photo1 Talking to the bear in a casual conversational tone, I slowly rose to my feet and went in to the house. To get my camera, of course. Coming back out, I walked out to the corner of the deck and proceeded to take several photos as the bear nosed around, eventually licking up the patch of seed fallen to the ground from two of our bird feeders. After a few minutes it seemed to get a little fed up with my curiousity and ambled off up the hill towards our garden. Over the course of the afternoon, it visited the house several more times.

photo2 The next morning it was back. That's when we came to the conclusion that black bears and bird feeders are a good mix -- if you don't like your bird feeder! One of ours is now in three pieces. There was a large thump on the deck while I was inside. I rushed to the upstairs window, camera in hand, to find the bear up on our railing, half-climbing our flag pole to get at the bird feeders.

Running downstairs I chased it off the deck and up behind the house. Crack! Bang! I later found our finch feeder in three pieces. I decided then and there to take down our other feeders and to clean up all the birdseed lying on the ground. The last I saw of the bear was that evening, the 11th, when it was back up on our deck; about five feet from me, on the other side of the window, as it found the jar of pickled herring I had forgotten out on the deck table.

photo3 We thought, at one point, that maybe we could identify this bear as likely a female, a sow. Our reasoning for this conclusion is demonstrated in this photograph. Having spent twenty seconds or so in this most unmale-like pose if there wasn't solid evidence of having concluded it's business then it could possibly be labeled as female but, alas, there was; so we continue to refer to this particular bear as the gender-neutral "it".

photo4 We've only seen it for three days or so at our place but know the bear's been on the island for a couple weeks. We assume it will make it's way off-island in the next few. In the mean time, this is the end of it we prefer to see…

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Last updated 04-05-17

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