Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Bear

A lady in my church makes it a point each week to describe all her wildlife sightings. Usually, she contains this to birds and sometimes raccoons or skunks. But today was bear day.

A bear, or more likely, a number of bears, live near her. She has visiting bears each fall, not an unexpected thing for someone far out in the country. But a springtime bear, that’s a different story.

In spring, about this time in Southern and Mid-Coast Maine, black bears break hibernation and awaken to an in-between time where plant food is scarce. Bears are omnivores and relish both meat and vegetable matter.

Anyway, my friend’s visitor made off with a suet feeder. I told her she should be thankful that that was all the bear did. Imagine going six months without anything to eat. That’s what bears do.

It’s only in recent years that wildlife biologists have realized the full extent of bear predation upon newly-born whitetailed deer. A little fawn makes a satisfying meal for a hungry bear.

Also, bears are pretty ugly at this time, quite understandable, given their situation.

When a month or so has passed, the bears should have satiated their ravenous hunger. But make no mistake. Black bears not only eat to live, but also live to eat. There is no time during their above-ground season that they don’t have food on their mind. But in spring, oh, bears will seek anything edible that isn’t tied down…and even things that are tied down are in grave jeapordy.

I’m anxious to attend church next week, so that I can hear the continuing saga of my friend Jean and her nuisance bears. And make no mistake, there will be a next time. Bears are like that.

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