Author Topic: Surprise visit  (Read 466 times)

Offline Pookie

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Surprise visit
« on: March 23, 2018, 10:46:54 PM »
I'm watching TV tonight and hear a lot of noise coming from my deck.  It sounded like my neighbors were moving their deck furniture around (I live in a condo, so the deck runs along the length of the building, with barriers in between each unit's deck for privacy).  I'm thinking:  you're moving furniture around in March?  I KNOW there's still snow on your deck -- don't tell me you're thinking of sitting out there?

More noise, only now it sounds closer to my deck than my neighbor's.  I go to my kitchen, which is where you access the deck, and see a large creature on all fours walking away and towards the next deck.  A creature that was bear-shaped.  :o I turned on my outside light and see that my suet feeder, which hangs from a metal hook that's attached to the deck rail, is gone.  So is the metal hook.

I wait a minute or two, debating on what to do, and shocked that the bear actually came to my deck, because I'm not in a unit along the woods, but along the road, and they usually stay more along the tree-line.  I open the door and clap several times.  Don't hear anything.  By this time s/he's probably in another part of the complex, back in the woods or down the street.  After several more minutes, I went out onto my deck and looked around.  I saw the paw prints in the snow going away from my unit towards the next one.  Ok, I did in fact see a bear.  Went back inside and called a neighbor who walks her dog (the hubby doesn't usually walk him) and left her a message.

She called back about a half hour later to tell me that the bear got into her trash cans (she leaves them outside) and another neighbor's birdfeeder.  She'd been walking the dog and for once, he was in a hurry to pee and get back inside.

I live next to a Wildlife Management Area, so we've had bears around before, and I've seen them on rare occasion.  And I'm not supposed to feed the birds (HOA rules), but since my row of condos is, how do I put it, on the "inside" of the complex (surrounded by other buildings), the only wildlife that tends to visit me are chipmunks, squirrels or birds.  And my deck is several feet above the ground (probably 4-6').  Feeding the birds is something I do for enjoyment, and also to honor Pookie, in a way, because I never fed them until he was older, and it was Cat TV for him.  I still have his kitty condo in the kitchen, and he would sit in it and watch, jump to the floor, chattering to the birds.  So besides the suet, I also throw a couple handfuls of sunflower seed out for them so he can watch if he comes to visit me.

Well, I won't be doing that anymore.   :(  I'm going to have some very unhappy woodpeckers and other birds tomorrow, but as much as I'd like to find a way to feed them, I don't want to risk attracting the bear to my deck again.  I'm just glad the bear didn't damage the deck rail, at least, not what I could see.  But I would really like to have the metal hook back.  And the suet feeder, but that's probably a lost cause in any case.

FWIW, the bear may have a harder than expected time getting the suet out of the feeder.  Since I have very determined squirrels, I have twist ties holding the top and bottom of the suet cage closed.   :P  But, I'm sure Bear will find a way.

BTW, in case you're wondering:  I keep my trash can in my garage, which is attached.  So Bear isn't going to be getting that unless s/he stops by on trash day after I put it out and before the DPW comes for it.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 10:51:31 PM by Pookie »
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 11:04:03 PM »
 That's just scary! I'm extremely glad you're okay!

Please, be really, really careful! Bears are ravenous when they come out of hibernation, and they'll take a meal any way they can get it. The bad thing is, with all the snow, a lot of their usual prey isn't out and about much yet. He/She won't forget any time soon that they just found an easy meal.
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2018, 11:19:13 PM »
That's just scary! I'm extremely glad you're okay!

Please, be really, really careful! Bears are ravenous when they come out of hibernation, and they'll take a meal any way they can get it. The bad thing is, with all the snow, a lot of their usual prey isn't out and about much yet. He/She won't forget any time soon that they just found an easy meal.

Which is exactly why, as much as I hate to stop, I won't be putting out any more seed or suet.  The birds will just have to make do on their own.  When there's not a lot of snow/ice in here, I try to take walks, and have done it after dark, but I won't be doing that anytime soon, either.  Of course, we still have some melting to do anyway, but when I finally can, I'll do it while it's still daylight.  The bears have been out during the day, too, but at least I'll be able to see them.  And if there's other folks outside, the bears may not be as willing to come in here.  But yeah, I am a little nervous that one came that close to my home.  I've been here over 20 years and that's never happened before.  Clearly, s/he was hungry!

What really attracts them is the trash cans.  Some folks in here still keep theirs outside for some reason.  I never have, and that was before the DEP told everyone to keep 'em inside several years ago.

Apparently, our bears don't hibernate, but they can go into torpor (this article is from 3 years ago):

http://nj1015.com/nj-black-bears-dont-hibernate/

Quote
So what does it mean when bears torpor?

The definition of torpor is a state of lowered physiological activity typically characterized by reduced metabolism, heart rate, respiration and body temperature that occurs in varying degrees.

Ya learn something new every day!
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 11:25:15 PM by Pookie »
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 11:37:25 PM »

Apparently, our bears don't hibernate, but they can go into torpor (this article is from 3 years ago):

http://nj1015.com/nj-black-bears-dont-hibernate/

Ya learn something new every day!

That was VERY interesting! Semi-hibernation instead of all-out-conked-out. Learn something new every day for real! I hope it gets its natural habitat back soon!
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Offline Lola

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2018, 03:03:52 AM »
 :o

SO glad the bear moved on... and all is okay at your house! 
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Offline ThreeStep

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2018, 07:42:52 AM »
Thank you for sharing. Is it a common occurrence in your neighborhood to have bears visit? I am glad to hear that your place did not suffer any damage and that everyone is fine. Can you set up a feeding station in a common area?

Offline ThreeStep

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2018, 07:44:19 AM »
sorry

Offline Pookie

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2018, 11:34:08 AM »
I got my metal hook back!  It was right below the deck.  The suet feeder must have come off (I had the feeder's chain wrapped around the hook to defeat the determined squirrels) during the plunge from the deck, so the hook didn't go with it to wherever the bear took it.  It's probably in another part of the county by now.

There's still a partial print in the snow, and I found another footprint in the moss behind another unit in my row (the lady there feeds birds, too).  I took pictures but still have to re-size them.

That was VERY interesting! Semi-hibernation instead of all-out-conked-out. Learn something new every day for real! I hope it gets its natural habitat back soon!

In this state, that's probably not going to happen.  They are literally in every county here, including the ones neighboring NYC and Philly.  Most of New Jersey is considered the "suburbs" of those 2 major cities and we're the most densely populated state.  Folks like me move to the rural areas because 1.  we're not city slickers and prefer nature to people and 2.  it's more affordable than living near the urban areas.  Lots of folks moved to the rural areas for those reasons, and by moving here, we intruded on the bear's habitat.  It seems folks may be moving back towards the cities these days, but the developments don't leave just because the people do.  Basically we just have to learn to live with each other, and for us humans that means keeping our trash indoors and (bummer) not feeding the birds or leaving pet food outside.  But the other "solution" the state has used for a couple of years now is a bear hunt.  No, I'm not a fan of it.  I can't help but think there has to be a better way of handling the situation than that.  Though there have been some cases of aggressive bears that just had no fear of people and were a danger, and those do get killed, I believe.  But a hunt doesn't differentiate.

Thank you for sharing. Is it a common occurrence in your neighborhood to have bears visit? I am glad to hear that your place did not suffer any damage and that everyone is fine. Can you set up a feeding station in a common area?

sorry

No apology needed.   HeadButt HeadButt  To answer your questions:  I've lived here for over 20 years and can count on one hand the number of times I've seen the bears.  The neighbor who was walking her dog lives closer to the woods than I do -- she's in one of the buildings that sort of surrounds mine -- and last year she saw a momma bear with her 2 cubs several times.  My development is in a very rural part of NJ and literally borders a wildlife management area (state land), so it's very possible to have bears in that area, along with coyotes, foxes, deer, red tail hawks and turkey vultures.  We even had some osprey nesting in the cell tower behind our property for a couple of years.  Anyway, I don't know if it's "common" to see the bears, but it does happen.

Setting up a feeding station for the birds would just be an open invitation to the bears to "come on down," and it's against HOA rules (not that anyone pays attention to that particular rule).  If we set up a station for the bears, we'd be breaking the law.  It's illegal to feed them.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 11:41:20 AM by Pookie »
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Offline Lola

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2018, 11:46:07 AM »
It really is very interesting to learn info (first hand) about other states and areas.  As ThreeStep said... Thanks for sharing!
Looking forward to the pictures.  You can post them, and I can resize...if that is easier. 
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2018, 12:46:03 PM »
Looking forward to the pictures.  You can post them, and I can resize...if that is easier. 

Since you offered  Silly7 (I couldn't remember what the right size was for here):

One is the partial in the snow, the other is in the moss.  Look at the bottom left -- it's not super-easy to see, but if you look carefully, you can see it.

Thanks in advance for resizing them for me!
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 01:59:21 PM by Lola »
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Offline Lola

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2018, 02:00:28 PM »
I can see the one in the snow super easy!
I should have looked at the one in the moss... before resizing!  :)
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2018, 09:53:40 PM »
I stand corrected, there was a little damage to the deck.  Later today I noticed 3 jagged lines on the top of the railing, which I assume are from Bubba Bear's claws.  I'll try to take a picture to share tomorrow.  There are some other scrapes, too, also on the top of the railing.

I saw the neighbor that I spoke to last night and she told me that she found the other neighbor's birdfeeder, which was destroyed.  No sigh of her trash, though, and I'm sure that's long gone.  Later I took a short walk and bumped into some other folks and gave them a heads-up to be careful, as we had a bear pass through last night.  One had a video of Bubba.

I should have looked at the one in the moss... before resizing!  :)

It came out really well!  Are you able to see it?  If it's not very visible, I can take another picture tomorrow, if the weather cooperates.  I was thinking of putting a ruler next to the print to give an idea of the size.
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Offline Lola

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2018, 01:23:34 AM »
I circled the print in the snow... in case someone else can't see it.  Still looking for the one in the moss. 
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Offline ThreeStep

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2018, 07:45:49 AM »
This is awesome! After 20 years in the area a close encounter and one with a happy ending but for the birds. Please share it with your neighbors especially the trash offenders. It is so easy to get lulled into feeling very safe as all the bears do is raid the trash. People need to be aware of their surroundings.

Offline Pookie

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Re: Surprise visit
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2018, 08:30:23 PM »
Ok, here's another picture of the bear print in the moss.  It's to the left of the ruler and I circled it.  Hopefully this will be easier to see?

BTW, the print was about 10 1/2 inches from the heel to the longest toe.  I have no idea how big of a bear has that size foot.

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