A Talk on the Wild Side.
Black bears are especially active in the late spring, and for a couple of primary reasons: food and breeding. Increased chances of an encounter makes bear education important for wildlife managers, citizens, and the bears themselves. This will help explain why they’re so active and how to share the land with these amazing wild animals.
Young black bear isn't quite sure where to look for companionship yet, but he didn't miss a chance to peek inside the Rydell NWR Visitor Center window. Photo by USFWS.
The "rut" is on!
Most people are very aware that the whitetail deer breeding season (a.k.a. - the rut) occurs each autumn. But, did you know that right now the breeding season for black bears is in full swing? Males (boars) are actively in search of receptive females (sows), and will travel many miles to find one. The search for a mate also results in bears spending more time in open spaces during daylight hours - something that’s typically not common during other times of the year.
A black bear visits a neighbor's backyard bird feeder in Massachusetts. Photo by Andy Whitcomb.
Searching for Food
In addition to their travels in search of a mate, bear sightings in residential areas may also increase as bears search for food. Not to worry, they aren’t looking for humans! Black bears are attracted to backyards with bird feeders, pet food or garbage cans that are not secured.
A few tips to live or hike in areas with black bears:
Remember to share the land with these wild creatures!
-- Gregory A. Knutsen, Refuge Manager at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge