New Hampshire Fish and Game – the folks who have to respond to complaints about nuisance bears – are not  fans of backyard bird feeders. Fatty birdseed is like candy to black bears, so feeders lure them close to our homes, where complaints are more likely. This has gotten pretty common in large parts of New Hampshire; a bear came onto my porch a few years ago and in the process of swiping the bird feeder bent a thick metal rod in half.

Every year Fish and Game asks us to take down our bird feeders when bears become active in spring. Much to nobody’s surprise who is paying attention, that is happening earlier and earlier:

Although March 31 is the traditional deadline for ending winter bird feeding activity, more mild winters and the earlier arrival of spring conditions warrant modifications.
 “Den emergence by bears appears to be a couple of weeks earlier this year and the upcoming stretch of mild spring weather will cause bears to become active,” said Andrew Timmins, Bear Project Leader for the NH Fish and Game Department. “The strong spring sunshine, longer days and warmer temperatures stimulate many wildlife species, including hungry bears. As bears start to get active, let it serve as a reminder that it is time to put the birdfeeders away until next fall.”
Reports of bear activity and sightings have become more frequent in recent days and many people are reporting seeing bears at their birdfeeders, according to Timmins.
The state’s “avoiding bear problems” page, with more tips, is here.
(Incidentally, whether “bird feeder” is one word or two is, I’d say, a matter of choice rather than typological necessity.)

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