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Just Outside My Door 07/05/12

July 11, 2012
By ELAINE G. COLE - COLUMNIST ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

It's a beautiful July 2 as I sit at my desk this morning. We have been having some hot days, some quite humid. Our thermometer hit 95 percent one day last week. It's great weather for swimming or sitting in the house by a fan unless one has air conditioning. However, I don't like working outside or even in the house. My get-up and go is depleted on such days, but lately we've had a rather strange kind of entertainment just outside our door.

I looked outside one early evening and there was a bear outback by our feeders. We watched him for a while before opening the door and biding he or she goodbye. The next few days we didn't see any. A few days later our neighbor lad called and said a bear was coming down their meadow towards their house. Our neighbor Amanda and I walked over there and stood with the neighbors watching it walk leisurely down through the field until it got near the house. When it saw us standing silently nearby it began to run, crossed the road to our yard and turned to go towards our meadow. We couldn't see it then, but it was plain to see it didn't want to pay us a visit so we went back home.

Apparently that day the bears were traveling around the neighborhood, for what I don't know. However, an hour or so later, Amanda called out to me and said, "there's a bear at your feeders." We thought it was probably a last year cub because it was smaller than the one we saw before. It also appeared less frightened. He sat down and reached up with his paw to grab some of the seed. That continued for a while and then he dined on seeds under the feeders. We watched from the bedroom window for some time. I tried to get some pictures through the window, but we were seen and it left.

It wasn't long before the bear was back. I decided it must be a male because it was so brave and determined to return for the easy picking. Unbelievably he returned several times even though we continued to watch him. Apparently he decided we weren't an enemy for Amanda took several pictures and he didn't leave. When he began to pull down the feeders I decided that was enough. I opened the door and told him he wasn't welcomed anymore. At first he just looked at us, he took a few steps, looked back and finally left.

When I examined the feeders I found three of them beyond repair, but wasn't to upset because they were the ones that I had repaired with tape and I knew they were in need of repairing again soon. Nevertheless, I took them all down and didn't return them for several days. Finally we bought a couple more feeders, but took them down nightly. We haven't seen any signs of them visiting since. Hopefully they are finding sufficient food in the woods or elsewhere.

We continue to welcome all our other backyard friends. The squirrels and chipmunks cannot reach the feeders and are content to feast on the seed on the ground and corn I put out for them. The mourning doves and Mr. Crow like corn too, as do other guests. I also put out bread and other tasty leftovers for all who like them, except the cats which are very unwelcome visitors.

Most outdoor critters are welcome to visit us, so thus far this year we haven't minded the raccoons as long as they don't dig up the flowers when they are first planted. They no longer do that since I used mothballs in the beds, but in recent years I replaced those smelly things and began using dried blood, which has no odder. The opossums and skunks seem to do little damage though I don't like the latter if they ruin the fresh country air.



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