Monday, July 13, 2009

Attracting wildlife (bears! oh my!)

Normally, I think of encouraging toads, woodpeckers, box turtles, chipmunks, dragonflies, butterflies, and owls as a desirable consequence of creating wildlife habitat in our gardens.

Seed-eating birds of all sorts enjoy visiting feeders, of course, and hummingbirds readily slurp up sugar water. There are plenty of adaptable critters, too, that are well-suited to suburban life and can be pesky (think skunks, opossums, and squirrels).

Much to our surprise, though, just before lunch, an unexpected visitor discovered the black oil sunflower seed feeder outside our small house in the mountains.

It didn't take long for this young Eastern black bear to bend down the feeder pole (I should have bought the cast iron one, not the aluminum one) and deftly help himself (probably 'him' not 'her') to the entire contents of the feeder, mouthful by mouthful.

There is a heavily wooded ravine below, but we're at the highest point, and there's not much of an obvious wildlife corridor from there down that would seem to support a foraging young bear.

And even though we're in the mountains, we're also within walking distance of downtown Asheville, hardly bear habitat, I'd think.

But calling to check, the City's philosophy is to take down feeders (at least temporarily), secure garbage cans, clean grills, etc. Quite reasonable, I thought. I never imagined that a 'city' (to us) bird feeder might attract (even a young and hungry) bear.

5 comments:

  1. Oh my indeed!! How wonderful ???

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  2. Now that's mountain living...makes for cute pictures!

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  3. Wow, I wonder if the bear didn't have a food source nearby. I didn't realize they were so close by in Asheville. Here in Llano Largo, we are rumored to have bears, mountain lions,bobcats, as well as coyotes, but they don't come down from the mountains unless they are famished, as in little water creating less food. Poor Asheville bear! Go back to the forest!Away little bear!!

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  4. I can't imagine having a bear in the garden! Thank goodness we just have squirrels and rabbits.
    vickie

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Please share your thoughts with me. I always enjoy hearing from fellow gardeners and nature observers of all sorts, as well as whomever else drops by.

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