DEATH OF THE LAST BIG BIRDFEEDER – Marilyn Armstrong

When Owen came upstairs this morning, he looked out the window and realized the birdfeeder was missing. It’s a very big feeder and (used to) hold almost 20 pounds of seeds. We had the feeders down for a few weeks and only put them back a couple of days ago.

Not only was the feeder gone, but the bracket that held it was torn off the oak stanchion, We didn’t have the camera up, but it had to be a big racoon … or a bear. We do have bears, but so far, they haven’t bothered us. And they won’t bother us … unless we keep feeding them. They apparently habituate quickly and lose their fear of people in a hurry. These are black bears, the smallest of North American bears … but even a small bear is a lot stronger than a person.

Whatever took the feeder down was strong. I hope it was a racoon. I’m not ready to deal with bears. Both raccoons and bears not only tear down feeders, but frequently steal them entirely, tucking them under their arms and taking them home to the nest..

Aw, c’mon! That’s not fair! Feeders are not cheap!

Owen found ours on the ground. It’s pretty bent up, but at least the bracket is in one piece and he can probably straighten out the rest of it, more or less. I don’t think the birds will care if it’s bent. I’m not sure what else to do, but I’m thinking of just tossing seed to the ground and let everyone have a go at it without having to climb onto the deck.That would minimize photography, but I’ve gone through four feeders this season … and it’s only the end of June.

Raccoons are not true hibernators, but grown ones store up fat so that they can sleep through most of the winter. The problem is, our weather is getting warmer. Will winter be cold enough for bears to hibernate? Or will they be coming after the feeders and trash cans all through the year?

Sketchy Goldfinches

So, for now, since we have a lot of feed, we will put it on the ground below the deck. Everything can eat without climbing the deck. Bears are big and strong. If the Duke goes after a bear, it will not go well for the Duke.

I’ve run of money. I can’t afford more feeders. I’m worried it might have been a bear because so many have been seen locally. Bears also mean finding secure places to store trash cans. Bears can break into sheds, or for that matter, houses.With such warm winters, even a hibernating bear might not sleep soundly and come out for a midnight snack. 

27 thoughts on “DEATH OF THE LAST BIG BIRDFEEDER – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. It would be a shame if you were not able to photograph the birds and squirrels any more but you can’t keep buying feeders and a bear sounds pretty scary. I feel sorry for them too but I don’t want them to move in with you.

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  2. Last winter I had my feeder which was usually visited by the blue tits. I scattered food on the ground which was popular amongst the sparrows. I also tossed a few walnuts and peanuts for the visiting crows and magpies. there was one small disadvantage. I had a wheat field, corn field and some hemp growing where I tossed the food on the ground which can get quite tall. Luckily the local gardener decided it was part of our wild meadow and mowed it down, although I quite got to like my two hemp plants. They were quite decorative.

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  3. We’ve had mountain lion sightings recently, and bears in the last couple of days. A day or two ago, a TINY cub came out of the mountains with its mom and two other adult (or semi-adult?) bears roamed the foothills looking for backyard food. It’s that time of yer in our mountains!

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    • Apparently it’s that time of year in central Massachusetts, too. But all the bears we’ve seen looked like they were starving. There’s not a lot of food in the woods. Yes, we have woods, but not nearly enough for bears, foxes, coyotes, weasels (Fisher cats), raccoon, squirrels, Flying Squirrels, hawks, eagles, chipmunks, bobcats and who knows what else. There’s just not that much LAND and not that much for them to eat. A lot of vegetation that fed them has been plowed under, and the rivers are low, so there aren’t many fish. I would not like to be a bear in our woods. Actually, I’m finding it hard to be a human being in this house.

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  4. Good gracious!! Bears? I am really discouraged to read the comments and hear evidence of how much man (the biggest and stupidest predator) has damaged the world, that bear cubs are starving. Maybe it is time to burn it all down and start again. Take care of you guys and keep Gibbs where you can see him. Will they come in the front fenced area, those bears? Wow. It will be a shame if the bird photography (and squirrels and chipmunks) has to go because the bigger animals are so aggressive. But who isn’t aggressive if they’re really really hungry? I know I am.

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    • No, they’ll go where they smell food. I don’t think the Duke would even try to confront a bear. He’s not that brave and bears have no gripe with dogs, as long as the dog isn’t attacking them — or their food — or their cubs.

      I find the idea of starving bear cubs roaming around the suburbs looking for a decent meal pretty depressing. We have so overbuilt this planet that anything larger than a bug — unless it’s a farm animal or pet — is probably doomed. We lost 1 billion birds last year. ONE BILLION.

      Anyway, black bears are not particularly aggressive in general as long as you aren’t fighting to get your trash can back. I’m hoping is isn’t bears because they are too big for me to manage and hungry they may be, but if I feed them they can easily tear off the door and come rambling into the kitchen … so I’d rather skip that.

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    • Melanie,
      “Maybe it is time to burn it all down and start again”…isn’t that exactly what might be happening right now???

      Yikes.

      Marilyn, maybe we should start a Go Fund Me for a bird feeder for you!!

      😂

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  5. Good grief, sorry about your big bird feeder, Marilyn. I hope for your sake it wasn’t a bear. We don’t have those – or racoons – over here, so the most likely culprit for this kind of destruction would be nothing more than a very strong squirrel or an ambitious fox. Hope you solve the mystery. Beautiful shots again, though.

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