Suet Bird Food and Bears!
Suet Bird Food – The Bear Necessities
If you are providing food for wild birds then it can be incredibly annoying to discover that your offerings are being stolen by other animals. In the UK the principle hijackers are squirrels. Extreme measures are often required to prevent these creatures from reaching the feeders.
But if you are concerned about squirrels stealing your nuts then consider the plight of householders in America. They have to concern themselves with altogether more intimidating thieves which love the seeds, nuts and suet bird food which is hanging in their gardens.
How would you feel if you looked out of the window and saw a large bear feasting on your suet bird food?
Bears hibernate during the winter months. When they emerge from their dens in spring they are extremely hungry and need to find food as a matter of urgency. Naturally they will seek out easy sources of nutrition to conserve their energy whilst they fatten up. In America many bears live within striking distance of residential properties and they soon learn about the treats which can be plundered there. These include every variety of wild bird food, but especially high calorie foods like suet bird food.
Bird feeders and Suet Fat Balls
No bird feeder is any match for a bear and will soon be destroyed. Bird suet is particularly attractive to bears due to its high fat content which bears relish when they need to consume calories quickly. Americans who live in states where there are bears are always encouraged to remove bird feeders from their gardens before spring has sprung. It is vital that bears are not encouraged to visit residential areas in any way.
When bears learn to associate houses and people with food they will keep coming back and can pose a threat to the residents and their properties. Problem bears are often removed from the area but can return and will eventually have to be destroyed.
This year the unseasonably warm weather in several states has seen bears emerging from hibernation early. Residents are usually advised to take down their feeders by 1st April but this year that was too late. They are now being told to keep an eye on the weather conditions and to take the appropriate action.
One black bear who visited several houses in Northern Indiana last year has already been spotted several times across the state line in Michigan. One resident was woken by her dog barking in the early hours of the morning. She ignored the barking but when she got up and looked in the garden she found her bird feeder lying empty on the ground.
Bears are highly intelligent opportunists who learn quickly and will become repeat offenders!
Threat to Life
We might get frustrated by squirrels in the UK but at least they pose more of a threat to our nuts and bird suet than to our lives! There is no such thing as a bear baffle so American birders have an altogether bigger problem than squirrels!