Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bear Scare

My first year on the mountain, I was unaware of "living with bears". One day that Spring, after a harsh winter, I went to fill the feeders and found that apparently a massive bruin had tried quasi-successfully to raid them. He had snapped off the metal posts on a tube feeder and pulled a sturdy steel hanger on a metal feeder out of whack. He made off with the suet cage completely.

Scary, frankly.

Two days later, I came down to the kitchen in the morning and there he was nosing around the seed debris. He came very close to the house and pooped in the yard. "Oh no", I thought. "I hope he is not marking his territory or something." The ultimate in scooping....

Since then, I only put the feeders out in the depth of winter after I am sure the bears have gone down. I put them away again in mid-March. Since I feel bad about leaving the birds in the lurch, I put peanuts on the deck during the day for the avian throngs. (I have also been known to use whatever nuts I have in the freezer-walnuts, almonds, pecans.) Titmice, Blue Jays, Crows, Nuthatches, even Chickadees love them. Did I mention squirrels? Whoeee, it’s like they died and went to heaven. All that and a heated birdbath.

The cats love watching all of the drama on the deck. There is squabbling, chase scenes, robbery and flirtation. Pretty much the same as daytime TV. They line up in a row like they are at the theater. The tips of their tails twitch. They chatter their teeth. Sometimes when they cannot stand it anymore they will jump up and paw at the window. Yup, they love watching the birds and squirrels. And the birds and squirrels love watching them.

And so, the days are getting longer and warmer. Very soon my ursine neighbors will be peering out of their dens and venturing into the skunk cabbage patches to purge themselves of their sluggish winter digestion and then looking around for a snack. But not at my house. My feeders are down and in the garage.

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