Wednesday, August 02, 2006

a visitor at dawn

I awoke at 5 this morning to the sound of the bird feeder being dismantled. Not that I recognized it as that sound right away, but this sounded a lot different than Puffball trying to climb the window screens. The Hermit heard it too, and shone a light out the window.

There, about five feet away from the house, was a black bear. A very large one. It let go of the bird feeder when the light shone on it, but it took its time sniffing around before it shuffled off into the woods.

I guess I've grown complacent about bears this summer; I did not see one around all spring, when they are at their hungriest, and I assumed by now there's plenty of food for them in the woods. But with the drought we've had until last weekend, the berry crop was probably a complete failure, probably not as many insect grubs around, or whatever else bears eat. When they're hungry, they come looking. In retrospect, it was not a wise choice to put suet cakes in the feeder.

I'll clean up around the yard a bit this evening, make sure the garbage lid is secured down, run the grill to burn off any excess grease, get the remaining suet cake off the feeder and scrub it a bit, take the thistle seed feeder in, shut the cookshed door tightly...

...and probably not sleep, even though there will be a shotgun handy. It's a last resort, but a reasonable precaution.


the dharma bum said...

Oh wow. What a wake-up call, in more ways than one!

Not to make light of it, but would you also consider keeping the camera next to the shotgun? Sure would be neat to see a picture!

Stay safe!

madcapmum said...

Mmm, yes, better roll up the welcome mat and be anti-social. In other words, be un-bear-able.

(Sorry, couldn't help it.)

Floridacracker said...

Can't top that Mum.

Be careful SandCreekians.

Deb said...

dharma bum- I think maybe a camera flash might be a useful deterrent. And it would make fo an excellent blog post. We'll see.

By the way, we just bought our own copy of "The Big Lebowski". Even my 4 year old quotes from it now, and I see more every time I watch it. I just remember you're the blogger who recommended it, so thanks!

madcap- I have indeed rolled up the welcome mat, just hope this bruin does not like green tomatoes. It would definitely be bear steaks then!

FC- Somehow I'm not as freaked out as I was in the morning. If I had heard the cry of a mountain lion, which I heard way too close one night in California, I would be somewhat more afraid, but I think the weapon of choice tonight might be Calvin's pellet gun. Give'im a good scare.

But the shotgun will be within reach.

Laura said...

We had a berry failure here, too, and if I recall correctly, the berries failed before the drought really set in. I've heard that saskatoons actually do better in drought years (hence their survival value during the 1930s) because there aren't as many insects to chew into them before they mature. I know the gooseberry bush that I watched closely here in the yard had plenty of berries on it, but they all went wormy. I'm thinking it was the warm winter that killed our berries.

Wishing you a quiet night.

Deb said...

Fortunately, The Return Of The Bear did not happen last night. I even slept pretty soundly until about 4:30, when I awoke anxiously. It was one of those beautiful, still nights when the temperature dipped below 50 degrees.

And, I didn't want to announce to the whole world on the main post that The Hermit is out of town for a few days, which is why I was so nervous about the bear's possible return.