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CAB News

Posted on: April 5, 2021

Hungry like a bear!

Sterling Ranch Soft Trail Landscape

After a long winter nap, springtime is when we can see the activity of wildlife here in Sterling Ranch. Being so close to the mountains and having a wildlife corridor running through Sterling Ranch, residents are able to see a wide variety of wildlife throughout the year. During the spring it is especially important to make sure our behaviors don’t endanger the species that we love to see.

In the springtime, Bears begin to come out of hibernation, and when they do they are huunngry! Active from mid-March through early November, Colorado bears' full focus is on eating.  With a nose that’s 100 times more sensitive than ours, a bear can literally smell food five miles away. Bears are usually shy when it comes to people but food is a big enticement and once they find food, they come back for more.

Most conflicts between people and bears can be traced to easy-to-get-at-human food, garbage, pet food, birdseed, or other attractants. When people allow bears to find food, a bear’s natural drive to eat can overcome its wariness of humans.

Trash: Much of what people throw away smells like food to a hungry bear. Standard metal or plastic trash cans won’t keep out bears. Once bears learn where it’s easy to get at the garbage, they’ll come back again and again. Never leave trash or recyclables out overnight. Empty cans and boxes still smell like food. One study showed that simply putting trash out only on the morning of pick up cuts the chances of a bear visit from 70% to 2%.

Bird feeders kill bears: Studies show that often the first reward a bear gets for exploring human places is a big meal of tasty, nutritious seeds (a natural food for bears). Letting your bird feeders turn into bear feeders teaches bears that coming close to people and homes looking for food is a good idea. For bears, that can end up being a deadly lesson.

Tips for helping birds and not bears:

  • CPW recommends not feeding birds during the months when bears are active. Instead, use water features, plant­ings, nest boxes, and flowers to attract birds. Use bird feeders only when bears are hibernating.
  • If you don’t want to stop feeding birds, hang your feeders at least 10 feet off the ground and 10 feet away from anything bears can climb.
  • Keep the area underneath feeders clean and free of birdseed and hulls, or switch to hulled birdseed with no waste.
  • Never store birdseed outside, under your deck, or in a garage or shed a bear could break into. A 50-pound bag of birdseed has over 87,000 calories—a reward for the bear that is well worth the effort of breaking in.

Visit the CPW Website for more tips on how to bear-proof your home.

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