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N.H. Official: Take Down Bird Feeders to Avoid Conflicts With Bears

  • Two bear cubs peer through the screen of a kitchen door on School Street in Hanover, N.H., a neighborhood near the Dartmouth Green that has been visited frequently by bears, on Friday, April 28, 2017. Photo by Mark Laidre

Published: 3/21/2018 11:25:56 PM
Modified: 3/23/2018 12:22:39 PM

West Lebanon — As spring approaches and bears begin to come out of hibernation, New Hampshire officials are urging residents to remove bird feeders and other possible food sources from their backyards.

Though March 31 is the traditional deadline for bringing bird feeders indoors, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is advising residents to take action early, given the trend in recent years toward earlier springs, the department said in a press release this week.

“During recent years, den emergence by bears appears to be a couple of weeks earlier as compared with historical trends, which is a direct result of milder winters and decreased snow pack,” the department’s Bear Project Leader Andrew Timmins said. “The strong spring sunshine, longer days, warmer temperatures, and receding snow level stimulate many wildlife species, including hungry bears, to start searching for available food.”

People should not wait for bears to find the bird feeders before they bring them inside, according to the release. Residents should stop feeding birds by April 1 or by the onset of spring-like conditions. They should also dispose of any spilled birdseed in the trash.

In addition to bird feeders, state officials also advise residents to secure their chickens, other poultry and garbage in order to avoid conflicts with bears.

Garbage should be stored in airtight containers inside a garage or other storage area. Residents should put out their trash on the morning of pickup, not the night before.

In addition, the department advises people to avoid putting meat in compost piles, not to leave pet food dishes outside overnight, and to clean and store outdoor grills after each use.

More information about preventing conflicts with black bears can be found online at Questions can also be directed to the toll-free number, 888-749-2327.

— Staff report

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