Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Life in the Country is Never Boring!!!

This afternoon CD was working up the garden area and planting a couple of plants that arrived today from a nursery Like the true romantic that he is, he had thrown pebbles at my window to get me to look out and approve the placement for one of the plants. So when I hear a bit of clanging outside, I though he wanted me to help with placing another plant. I headed over to the window to tell him how very romantic I thought it was for him to keep throwing pebbles at my window…. At the same moment I heard his boots thundering up the stairs.

As I turned from the window to see what he wanted – he panted – “get the camera --- bears!!!”

Back to the window… sure enough, directly below was a good-sized black bear. While I was trying to get him into my viewer, I noticed movement over to my right… another bear working his way around the hill…. I began turning on outside lights hoping to send out enough light to get a better photograph…Suddenly, I realized there was a third bear on the other side of the house. CD says that might be the one he met face-to-face as he was coming in from the garden.
Just at dusk he had heard rustling in the woods back of the garden and thought probably some deer were stirring around, waiting to browse our yard after dark. Then when he saw a bear walking across the yard on the far side of our house he decided it was probably time to go inside. As he rounded the corner at the base of the stairs he surprised bear number three browsing around under our deck. Mr. Bear made a quick exit and CD dashed up the stairs.

Now I do think bears are interesting creatures. I even enjoy watching them. But three bears in my yard at one time --- THAT IS A BIT MUCH!!!

For the next two hours we watched the bears lick up seeds spilled from bird feeders. Tear up the only feeder we had left low enough for them to reach; scour the grass for the cracked corn left by the turkeys who have been recent morning visitors and basically check out everything from our plantings to our storage unit and car.
When one of the bears seemed to be about to climb up onto the car, my brain suddenly seemed to click into gear and I remembered we had a remote control on the key chain that would sound the horn. I grabbed the key and set off the horn. To my delight that spooked the bears. It eventually sent one of the bears up into a tree – not my best plan since what I want is for the bears to finish checking out our yard and go on their way.

We have had bear visitors every spring and fall since we moved here. Usually only one at a time – on a couple of occasions there have been two bears. They have managed to tear up several hundreds of dollars worth of bird feeders and poles and even damaged a trailer that a friend has parked here in the yard. Year by year we have changed our bird feeding habits, planted native plant bird foods – but the bears love the blueberries in the fall, hung feeders out of reach on the sides of the house and put up a tall steel pipe for a feeder pole, in attempts to bear-proof the property. Never before have the bears been quite so determined as they are this evening. Never before have I felt that there was so little to attract the bears. These bears - although they seem quite big – are very thin and must be having a difficult time finding the food they need. More houses were built in the neighborhood last summer so there are less and less places for them to forage.

State rangers just shrug and say, “The bears were here first.” But if they would think it through they know that is not really so. All of the woods around here are divided up by stone fences – Fences obviously built by farmers who would have quickly made steak out of any bear who did not understand whose land the farm really was. These bears may have some distant ancestor who shared this land with Indian neighbors but this generation are newbies, just like we are.


Anonymous Fran aka Redondowriter said...

This is incredible; you do live away from the beaten path which has its good and not-so-good points, I guess. Seeing one bear in my yard, muchless three would scare me a lot. Are they aggressive?

12:17 AM  
Blogger Pam in Tucson said...

Bloglines indicated a new post from you and I came eagerly to see what beauty you had posted. The first thing I saw was a fantastic photo of a bear! I gasped! Then you spoke of another and another. Never a dull moment at endment's! I hope the destruction was minimal and that they have now left you in peace. I struggle often with place and ownership, particularly when it comes to welcoming or shutting out wildlife. [I always smile when you talk so warmly of the romance in your life - whether it's throwing pebbles at your window or bringing you flowers.]

12:25 AM  
Blogger silverlight said...

Are Bears aggresive? Good heavens YES! I grew up in the country and I have seen first hand in person what bears can do! You do not want them around.

3:48 AM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Wow!!! That is such a great experience to have - I can only imagine! Great photos !! Great post!!

4:06 AM  
Blogger Ontario Wanderer said...

The only animals that bother me in my garden are blackflies. Perhaps they are not as bad as I thought. (Our birdfeeders are more often destroyed by raccoons.)

5:26 AM  
Blogger MojoMan said...

After reading "Beasts in the Garden" and watching "Grizzly Man", these stories are a bit more spooky than they used to be.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Pris said...

A bear coming into our campsite in the Blue Ridge Mountains was enough for me (We'd take the van, so I was safely inside) but in my yard on a daily basis? Too much for me! Great shots you got.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

WOW! Three bears in your yard at night...that is great...I would have loved to see that. I like bears, but I don't want to meet one again. Last summer I was chased up a tree by one. Never did figure out why he chased me up a was scary and funny at the same time.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Rexroth's Daughter said...

That is quite an encounter, endment. There are two animals I never want to see in my yard, one is a mountain lion and the other is a bear. I may be intrigued by predators, but not the ones that can do me any harm. Very good and quick thinking getting that bear away from your car.

We had problems once with a raccoon that was coming into our house through a magnetic cat door. We called animal control and they said exactly what your officer said, "raccoons were here first." Not much help.

Sounds like you have done all the right things to deter the bears, but when they're hungry, they want to eat.

Great photographs!

10:23 AM  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

Wow! Never boring, indeed. I admire your equanimity. I lived in the Adirondacks in the 50's and, even then, we enjoyed watching bears from a respectful distance. Black bears, while not particularly aggressive, must be a serious nuisance in the yard and garden. We have beehives and I'm always grateful that we don't have to contend with bears. Thanks for the pictures.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I hope you had a really huge telephoto lens to get those shots! YIKES

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is amazing! I would of freaked out though and yet you, you take it all in stride.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Elaine said...

I've always felt fortunate that not much seems to attract bears (or mountains lions) to our neighborhood, despite being only a mile from Pike National Forest. I feel even more fortunate after reading your post.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Kara said...

Wow Endment - and I thought I had wildlife problems! I think we may see a bear where we live - but we don't have much to attract them. I am told they will go into the orchards in Placitas. Three bears - my oh my!

12:02 PM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

This was so amazing to someone living in the "wilds" of suburbia with dreams of "wide open spaces" in my future. Reality checks are a good thing, it turns out...

1:40 PM  
Blogger Rain said...

Those were great photos, but I'm with you on not wanting them in my yard-- especially not three. Amazing. We have both mountain lions and bear up the road from our home but only once saw scat from a bear on this property and it was when down along the creek there was a plum tree. I grew up where at the back of the farm were plum orchards and regularly you saw bear sign there-- or bears. Beautiful but scary.

2:02 PM  
Blogger In Otter Space said...

I could feel the tug of both sides of your story. Bears were here first and got a long with the native people. But I certainly can appreciate you and your hubbie not wanting to have them hanging around your yard. Much less ripping up your bird feeders and etc...

Thanks for reminding me about the beauty and fragiliness of our planet through your encounter.

4:00 PM  
Blogger GreenishLady said...

I find this fascinating. Bears! I like that you are making efforts to limit the attractions of your place rather than doing anything nasty to deter them.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

fran aka redondowriter, pam in tucson, silverlight, and chiefbisuit
We live just above one river and across from another next to a wildlife refuge. The bears may not be agressive but they aren't afraid of people.

this is a lovely place - I suspect bears didn't find it attractive until people moved in - somewhere they have learned that houses mean food.

ontaria wanderer
Oh - we have black flys to -- I am not certain which are more anoying :=)

thanks for visiting -
I really want to keep very close to a strong door when they are around

I hate to say it - in Yosemite we used to see cars that the bears opened to get into an ice chest. frightening

wish you could have seen this bear go up the tree when the car horn honked :=)

rexroth's daughter
the biggest problem is that all the hills around here have a native cover of blueberries, elderberry and other attractive fruit

mary ann
long term residents say bear problems were rare until a few years ago... more houses are being built - there are no nearby forestry people so there will be no solution untill something serious happens.

they were about 12 feet away but I was above them on a deck with a very nearby door.

andrea, elaine and kara
I can't claim to remain totally calm... I really am not fond of their visits...

c. delia scarpitti
You simply need to ask the right questions -- local people will know if bears are active in the area.

i don't mind them wandering past if they will hurry on their way when they see me but I feel very uncomfortable when I am outside and they show up.

in otter space
You might be interested to know that the bears have a huge refuge that they can claim for their own... Most of the neighbors shoot at them when they come on their property... They do a lot of damage where garbage is left outside - it is my opinion that they simply prefer our home to their home :=)

5:40 PM  
Blogger Rain said...

black bears aren't as dangerous as grizzlies but they do occasionally attack; and although they can hurt a person badly or even kill them in certain situations, they normally are then killed for attacking; so it's definitely best to do whatever you can to dissuade them from coming around. They are beautiful though and your pictures were wonderful to see.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Three bears! Yikes. Lucky they didn't start fighting. I too live in bear country. I three bears in my yard once. It was mother bear and her two cubs. (Didn't have my camera then) She managed to send the bird feeder (which was hanging on the clothline) into the next door neighbor's yard. What she did was pull it down and then lost her grip. Well shot like arrow. Lol

8:48 PM  
Blogger LauraHinNJ said...

Wow! Don't know what else to say!

9:50 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

Endment, your story is fabulously entertaining! I gasped and giggled and guffawed out loud by turns as I read your account. And your ending is brilliant. I lived in Alaska for 15 years and moose in the yard were a common occurance year round, but never have I ever had a bear in my yard. It would scare me to death, I'm afraid. Great photos, great adventure, great story. Was it worth it?

10:58 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

bears are fascinating... I like them best where I can see them from a distance - not quite this close :=)

I have no clue whether they are in the mood to be dangerous or not - but when I see what they did to the birdfeeder - I really don't want to check it out :=)

We are beginning to get a collection of bear stories - just as you are. These were three young bears - I would have really been uncomfortable if there had been a mother bear and cubs!!!

thanks for just dropping by :=)
Any recommendations on plants that deter bears?

My toes still tingle :=)
I love where I love but the bears and I need a mediator to negotiate a truce.

6:08 AM  
Blogger kerrdelune said...

Bears, and not just one bear but three! There is only one bear on the place in Lanark as far as I know, but he looks much like your three black bears do. I reall enjoyed the photos, particularly as I have never been able to capture "Fred" on a memory card - he is a wily old fellow.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Susan Gets Native said...

ONE bear is enough to frost my shorts...but three leaves me speechless. Thank God southwestern Ohio is out of their least for now.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Joy Eliz said...

Thank you for the book recommendation! I am so interested now:)
I love this post! I think throwing pebbles at the window is soooo romantic too!!!!
How funny about the bears though. I don't know if I would be scared or in awe. Probably scared...
Thank goodness I can be in awe from your photos and stories:)

6:33 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

be glad your bear seems to mind his own business (I hope) Hear these three did quite a bit of damage up the road from us.

susan kailholtz williams
I am looking for a place to send them for vacation :=)

joy eliz
hope you find the book helpful - there are a number of others that expand on the concepts.

I have a very special pebble thrower!!!
Awe and fear seem to go together in my mind - when it comes to bears.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous yllstonewolf said...

oh my what a delight! i had the same inspiration about the car remote when hubby and i were camped in yellowstone and we heard a bear outside. all mine did was shiff about and leave, so i never actually did need to use the remote. cannot imagine the terror it would have caused in the other campers!!! it is a hard line to find, what is ours and what is theirs. can't wait to look around here some more.

2:19 PM  

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