Black Bears Love Trash and Bird Feeders- Be Careful!
Montgomery County, Maryland, has recently seen an increase in black bear sightings. This is not uncommon and is largely due to the natural behavior of bears during this Autumn time of year.
Black bears are active during the summer and early fall months. During this time, juvenile bears are seeking out a territory of their own and may travel throughout suburban areas. Adult black bears are also increasing their movements in search food to store up for winter.
In Montgomery County, sightings have become common, but these bears don’t usually linger too long. Most sightings are of younger males that are known to wander surprising distances as they search for new territory in the first season separated from their mothers.
As autumn approaches, black bears enter a physiological phase called hyperphagia, which literally means "excessive eating." During this period, they forage up to twenty hours a day to increase their body weight by thirty-five percent in preparation for winter hibernation. That’s a lot of eating! This can lead to more frequent sightings as bears venture out further in search of food.
No one can enjoy seeing a bear so close to their living area- I mean, have you seen their claws! They can be powerfully destructive within seconds. And no- you can’t outrun a bear so it’s truly best to avoid attracting them to your area by keeping those bird feeders and trash areas clean and empty until they hibernate themselves away for the winter. While an increase in bear sightings can be alarming for some residents, it's important to remember that this is a normal part of the bear's annual cycle. Please exercise caution and avoid creating attractions for bears by securing trash and emptying bird feeders after your morning feeds. By the way, bears aren’t the only critter storing up food this time of year- don’t be surprised to see opossums and raccoons get in on the feasting action! And snakes are just looking for a warm place to lay their heads so plug up those gaps!