An Avon family got an up-close look at the life of Black bears on Monday when a momma bear and two cubs camped out in their front yard, climbed trees and went after a bird feeder.
“The momma bear stopped by to take down our bird feeder and her cubs spent over an hour in our yard on Monday,” Gayle Bieluch said.
It’s not unusual for bears to be spotted in Avon, Burlington, Canton, Simsbury, New Hartford, Farmington and even West Hartford.
Between May 14, 2010 and May 13, 2011, there have been 2,097 reports of bears in the state and Avon ranks third for them, behind Torrington and Burlington.
However, these bears were in Bieluch's front yard, which is separated from the street only by a slight buffer of trees and shrubs.
She was also able to get compelling video showing exactly what the bears did in the residential back yard and posted it on YouTube.
While the video gives a glimpse of what appears to be cute behavior, state Department of Environmental Protection officials warn that towns like Avon do have a bear problem and bird feeders and other food sources will only attract them, especially if the feeders are only 5 to 6 feet off the ground or hang from tree branches, because bears are climbers.
Bears also feed from garbage cans and eat plants, insects and sometimes deer and livestock, according to the state DEP.
Black bears are generally shy and secretive and usually fearful of humans, but if they regularly find food near houses and areas of human activity, they can lose their fear of humans.
To avoid attracting bears:
- Remove bird feeders from late March through November. If a bear visits a bird feeder in winter, remove the feeder.
- Wait until the morning of collection before bringing out trash. Add a few capfuls of ammonia to trash bags and garbage cans to mask food odors. Keep trash bags in a container with a tight lid and store in a garage or shed.
- Do not leave pet food outside overnight. Store livestock food in airtight containers.
- Do not put meats or sweet-smelling fruit rinds in compost piles. Lime can be sprinkled on the compost pile to reduce the smell and discourage bears.
- Thoroughly clean grills after use or store in a garage or shed.
- Never intentionally feed bears. Bears that associate food with people may become aggressive and dangerous. This may lead to personal injury, property damage, and the need to destroy problem animals.
- Encourage your neighbors to take similar precautions.
The video is posted below. Watch to the end to see how the babies get out of the tree.