So last night I was sleeping peacefully when I gradually became aware of some weird noise coming from the front porch. It sounded like something was moving back and forth, kind-of rhythmically but it was nothing I could explain. As you’ve likely heard me say before, I live in the middle of the woods, on a 5 acre piece of land at the bottom of the mountain. If I walk out my back door I can be in Pisgah National Forest in a few minutes. For those not familiar, this forest consists of more than 500,000 acres! So essentially, my backyard is a rather big and wild place!
Still hearing the unidentifiable sound, I grabbed my robe and walked through the dark to the living room, where I could see out onto the deck that runs around 3 sides of the house. In the dim light I could see a dark shape standing at the edge. I moved to the wall, and flipped the switch for the lights, all 4 of them and saw an empty deck. Now I was fully awake and thinking BEAR.
I looked again and noticed the hummingbird feeder–one of 5 (3 hanging, 2 suction-cupped to windows, including a 2nd floor window) — was set neatly on the deck, empty of its sweet nectar. Hmmmm, it was looking more and more like bear. So I got the hand-held spotlight and stepped out the door, shining it in all directions but seeing nothing. No sounds either. Where could he have gone and how did he move so quietly?
I walked around to collect the other two hanging feeders, both empty. The one outside the back door, like the one in front, was set neatly on the deck rather than thrown halfway across the yard. I brought them in, turned on more lights, looked around, but still saw nothing. So went to bed.
But I was far from sleepy.
A little while later I heard a noise again, this time seeming to come from the back of the house. Again, I grabbed my robe and made my way through the darkness to the back door. This time I flipped on the light–a giant one that floods the entire deck and half the backyard in light. Wow! Guess what I saw? A big, black bear standing on his hind legs, reaching up to where the hummingbird feeder used to hang. He took up the whole space, nearly hitting the ceiling! Such black fur, so healthy and full-looking! The light didn’t phase him very much, though it did seem to force him into retreat-mode. He clumsily climbed over the deck railing, onto the stone patio and ambled towards the yard. He stopped short and then stood up again by the sunroom windows, then walked off and guess what? He stopped to get a drink from our birdbath! With his thirst now quenched, he sauntered off, swallowed by the darkness.
It is amazing to live in this place where wildlife regularly wanders into our yard. Wow! I enjoy the chance to see things and to learn about the animals who are my neighbors, including bears. It’s an animal most people will have to go to a zoo to see and an animal that provokes great fear in many.
For us this latest encounter does present a dilemma. Every night we bring in our seed feeders for the songbirds. Will we now have to bring in the hummingbird feeders too? I guess if it happens again, we will consider it. At least he was neat about things and didn’t break any of the feeders! I imagine him standing there in the dark, guzzling the sweet liquid, thinking wow, I have to make this one of my regular stops!
If you want to read more about black bears, Click HERE.