So I’m fast asleep last night after a long, hard day – and I awaken to the sound of distant thunder. No, wait a minute…that’s not too distant, and it isn’t thunder. It’s the sound of bending aluminum, just on the other side of the bedroom wall, where the storage shed housing about 50 bags of sunflower seed sits. Uh oh.
There’s no window on that side of the house, so I go upstairs to the loft and look out that window, which lucky for me, is right over the storage shed. I already knew what I would see – I just wasn’t ready for the number. Between the moonlight and the security light, I had a pretty good view.
Momma bear was busy ripping the door off the shed (or so I thought) while two cubs about the size of a German shepherd waited nervously on the lawn, running for the nearest tree when the aluminum really shrieked.
One more good pull and Momma was now inside the shed, the two cubs following right behind her. It had to be crowded in there. I didn’t want to think about the three of them somehow getting stuck in there…
I opened the window and clapped my hands – a sound that is supposed to scare bears. One cub came out and ran for the tree, but didn’t climb. The second one followed, and out comes Momma. She looked up at me and I could hear her breathing – but she obviously was not scared. Annoyed maybe, but not scared.
The damage was done, so I confess – I watched them for about ten minutes. I could hear the sunflower seeds crunching below me, and beary woofing and breathing. I imagined a colossal mess to clean up in the morning.
I made more noise. This time Momma came out of the shed and stood on the lawn, and deposited a nice pile of poo. She had no intention of leaving. I shouted – she retreated into the woods, but it was also obvious she was coming right back as soon as this pesky human went away. Nothing to do but return to bed, and hope for the best.
Morning revealed a few interesting things. She couldn’t get the sliding doors open (they were tied shut and would not slide) so she dug her claws under the frame and simply pulled the front of the shed off until she had enough room to get inside. The sight of it made me respect a bear’s strength.
Surprisingly, only one bag of seed was opened, stuck in the doorway and about one third of the seed gone. My guess, after seeing the pile of poo, is that this family just wasn’t that hungry. They had dined well on cracked corn somewhere – the pile deposited on the lawn was filled with it. They never disturbed the bird feeders or suet, and they surely didn’t take as much seed as they could have.
Today, Mike will spend some time repairing the shed and attempting to make it bear-proof. I think this family will surely return this evening, having discovered an easy meal. In spite of the damage, I feel fortunate to have been able to observe these animals so close – but from a safe vantage point.