Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bears Behaving Brazenly

Rick warned me. He didn’t think putting a bird feeder with a suet cake on the deck was a good idea. We had the hook already there from the hummingbird feeder. So, why not? The little titmice and nuthatch quickly found the new food and were fun to watch. The cats thought it was a good idea too as it made for improved bird watching, cat-style. Obviously, you as readers can already tell what’s coming. At least you have fair warning, whereas I did not. I have said many times that I wish I had a camera in my forehead that I could just trigger to catch certain photos. This was one of those times.

It was just after noon-ish. I walked into our sunroom which has large picture windows and sliding glass doors on both sides. We have two levels of deck with stairs leading down to the back yard. Here, let me show you as Sam [the Maine Coon] helps me demonstrate:

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Okay, see the deck railing just behind Sam and the stained glass? What I saw when I came into the sunroom was one of the bear cubs standing [yes all four feet] on the railing, looking right at me. His head was just above where Sam’s head is. He looked just about as surprised as I was. I was so shocked and surprised that I did what most people would do. I screamed. I couldn’t help myself, I didn’t have time to think about my reaction. When I screamed the dogs started barking. I saw the other bear cub at the feeder [which would be right in back of that section of wall between the two windows]. The cubs took flight and all I could see was the paw of the one that had seconds ago been standing on the railing. His paw clung to the railing for a second; then he was gone.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

It’s quite a drop so I was hoping it wasn’t hurt. Nope, not hurt, there is Ursa down in the yard and there go the two cubs running for the woods. Darn, missed that photo opportunity with my big mouth. But all I could think of at the moment was that the bears did not belong on my deck a few feet away from my house. You can visualize it for yourselves though, can’t you?

I gathered what was left of my wits about me and dashed for the camera. I went out on the deck to take a look. The bears were in the woods, but Ursa was heading back towards the yard. I waited. Sure enough, they entered the yard again. Ursa knew I was there; she looked me straight in the eyes.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

She and I have an understanding of sorts. She knows my scent from our earlier encounters in the yard, and she knows it was me that dropped suet down to her when we thought she was stuck in the storm drain. It’s creepy, but there is definitely a connection. She knows I mean no harm, and in return she does none. For a person that has had a terrible fear of bears her whole life, I find my reaction to this bear and her cubs very strange. I named her Ursa after the run-in with the dogs we had earlier in the year. If you missed that post here is the explanation of her name. So, it just follows that I’ve now dubbed the cubs ‘Major’ and ‘Minor.’

They stayed and played awhile and what follows is a photo journal of their visit. I hope you enjoy it. I had to shoot fast, so I set the camera on the sport setting to minimize the blur from their movement.

Ho hum. I kind of like this yard. Let’s stay for awhile.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Hey, what is that lady doing up there? Is she watching us?
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Hey, look, cool…a dog toy!
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

tag…you’re it!
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I’m gonna get you now…
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

okay, let’s dance…but who’s going to lead?
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

oh, alright…you can lead…
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

After about ten minutes the cubs started to come up the yard and I knew they were headed for the deck again. So, I took the feeder off the post and looked Ursa straight in the eyes. I said, ‘Okay Ursa, that’s enough. There is nothing more for you here. You should go now.’ She turned towards the woods and ambled off with Major and Minor right behind her.

While I was on the phone telling my mom about my encounter, I looked out towards the back of the yard and noticed the gate looked like it was open. Yikes. Good thing I had not let the dogs out yet. Sure enough, the gate was open enough for the bears to either come in or go out, and the dogs as well. The latch had been tampered with and it wasn’t catching anymore. I put a bungie cord on it to hold it closed. They’ve always just come over the fence before, not the gate! And, the other thing I want to know is did they use the stairs to get on the deck? Or did they climb up one of the poles? The dogs gave the yard a good sniffing when I finally let them out and Alex went right to the gate. So, they must have gained entry via the gate this time. Clever, brazen bears.

Post note: As an afterthought I found this website and learned more about our resident black bears.



Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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