I like bears but only when are already made into toy plushies. Bears in general are scary and dangerous and certainly not one of the animals you want to mess up with.
A visit from a bear means danger so you must avoid it at all cost. To do that, you should never have anything that attracts a bear into your backyard.
According to the American Bear Association, a bear’s sense of smell is really strong that it can beat a bloodhound at least 7 times in finding the source of blood or the aroma of good food.
Unfortunately, bears aren’t picky eater. They are attracted to all human food, and sometimes, even bird food, so how to keep bears away from bird feeders is a problem bird enthusiast have to deal with on a regular basis.
The bears are just one of the many enemies of bird feeders. Squirrels, cats, dogs and even other birds are in the list of creatures our feathery friends have to avoid and the birders have to solve. Bears are especially aggressive at attacking bird feeders during the wintertime, when food is scarce.
Aside from birdseeds, bears are also attracted to garbage, fruit trees, berry bushes and other pet food. Part of the things you can do to keep bears away from bird feeders is to ensure that your backyard is free of other things that may attract bears.
Here are three possible ways to deter bears from coming to your yard:
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Tip #1: Avoid bear season
In some countries, there are bear seasons. If at all possible, you should avoid hanging your bird feeder during bear season. But if you can’t help it, limit the number of bird feeders than usual. As an alternative to giving store bought seeds, try planting plants such as red or pink flowers that can attract hummingbirds, for example. Bears will never mess up with flowers so you can bid them goodbye for now.
Tip #2: Out of bear’s reach
While bears are big creatures, they can’t really jump that high so one way to keep bears away from bird feeder is placing the bird feeder on a pole that is high enough for the bears to reach. Most bears cannot go beyond 3m. They can look at it all they want but they’ll be frustrated for not being able to reach it.
Where else exactly? Hanging the feeder outside an upper story window but never on a tree branch. Bears have their way of scaling heights as long as it is a solid wall and can carry the bear’s weight.
Tip #3: Keeping it in
This is probably extreme and tiring so only do this when you have enough time. Do not leave out bird feeder outside all throughout, especially during the night. Keeping it inside the house, away from bears reach is a possible solution. Keep all birdseeds tucked away indoors securely.
Tip #4: Tube feeder
Using a tube feeder with a tray under it to keep the extra birdseeds from falling into the ground is a creative solution. It is somehow bear proof too. Most bears are attracted by the smell of seeds on the ground so avoiding any spillage from the feeder is a great idea. A 10 to 12 round plastic tray connected to the feeder tube is all it takes to deter bears from coming to your yard.
The only challenge to this tip is cleaning the feeder, as you will need to disassemble and then assemble the parts back. However, this is a better way to keep the bears away from the feeder for a while, so screw cleaning.
Tip #5: Take care of the tree branch
Bears are smart but humans will always be smarter. Yes, outsmart the bears by putting metal flashing or anything stainless at the bottom trunk of the tree you intend to hang the feeder at. With the metals, bears can’t get a grip of the tree to climb for a bird feeder feast.
If you are hanging it outside your upper window, place metal flashings on the ground floor too. You do not wish to see bears lurking outside your bedroom window!
Unlike other predators, discouraging bears to come to your backyard is the best solution. Discouraging can be done in three ways:
1. Never feed them anything: I know it may sound bad but feeding them once might give them the idea that there is food in your yard. While you may provide other food for squirrels or bully birds, I suggest denying a bear of food is a better choice. This way, they will be forced to go look somewhere else.
2. Keep things tidy: Never allow anything that might attract bears in your yard or even in your neighborhood. Staying clear of garbage will not only discourage bears but rodents as well. They are two visitors you should not see in the neighborhood.
3. Buy expensive birdseed: Birds can be picky too! If you buy cheap seeds, the birds do not get to finish them or worst, simply falls unto the ground. That’s a invitation for the bear’s extremely sensitive sense of smell. Meanwhile, birds don't leave crumbs when the treats are expensive.
Bird watching is surely a fun hobby. This is why hanging a bird feeder right within your field of vision is a must. While enjoying birds and their beautiful colors, remember that the enemy, the bear might just be lurking around. So, to avoid ugly scenes, knowing how to keep bears away from the feeder becomes a priority for every birder living near areas where bears are plentiful. Enjoy feeding!