One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the location of our house is that our back yard abuts a natural area with a state-owned fence giving us a barrier to large wildlife. We’ve used this relative protection to feed birds year-round, watching them swooping down for seeds and suet and then back into our trees.
That sense of protection was shattered last week when we awoke to find the central pole snapped and the mostly empty feeders on the ground. The plexiglass of the hopper feeder was broken, making it unusable. The copper suet feeder was bent and had been taken across the yard to one of the large trees.
Our assumption is that a bear had come around the end of the fence and entered our neighborhood and used our feeder station to fatten up for hibernation.
Although it wasn’t the first time a bear had been sited near us, it was the first time we had ever had our feeders raided. Because our local Wild Birds Unlimited store recently closed, B and I trekked up to the store in Fayetteville on Saturday to get the supplies we needed to repair our system.
I had thought that, given the rarity of bears in our neighborhood, we were safe to resume feeding the birds who need the food even more as the weather gets colder and the growing season ends.
I was wrong.
Sunday morning, we awoke to find our new pole broken and empty feeders scattered around its base. Fortunately, this time, the damage to the feeders is repairable without needing to get new parts.
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to put them back out until winter is setting in and the bears are hibernating.
The back yard seems empty without the feeders there and the cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, nuthatches, finches, juncos, titmouses, and my favorite chickadees flying in and out, especially at dawn, midday, and before sundown. I know, as wild things, they will be okay without our seeds and suet set out for them but I feel badly withdrawing a food source they have relied on for so long.
Maybe in a few weeks…