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Another winter is nearly over, and wildlife is on the move. Birds are migrating, trees budding and flowers in bloom, bears rising from winter sleep.
Each year my husband Joe and me learn more and more about the habits of the black bears that come here in our yard and surrounding woods.
For instance, towards the end of February, we found a tall oak tree in the clearing right behind our house, torn apart.
Layers of bark, and shreds of tree laid on the ground.
We have learned over the years that this is how a male bear marks his territory.

On the morning of Friday March 27th, we noticed the double suet holder we hang on a tree for the pileated and other woodpeckers and birds was missing.
We searched all over but did not find it. We also wondered if it might have been a black bear, however since there were other suet holders and bird feeders
hanging on other trees, and our ten foot high steel pole that were not disturbed, we thought "ah ha", maybe a raccoon might have taken it.
Well that night brought this mystery to a close.

Around 2 A M, Joe came into the bedroom, to get me up saying, " there is a big black bear in the yard". I hurried out but sad to say he was gone. All the motion lights were still on, and we looked out the windows on all sides of the house to discover, two feeders from the ten foot pole were missing. One laid on the ground, and the lid from the other one was on the ground, but not the feeder. Also one suet holder missing, and one garbage can missing. OOOppps!

Joe said this was one huge bear, weighing a good 300 to 400 pounds. From his description, we decided this was the bear we named Shamus, several years ago who has been coming here.
At 4 A M the motion lights shined into our bedroom, we looked all around but no bear. He already did get into some more garbage cans that hold aluminum, tin cans, and soda cans, we keep for recycling.
He also smeared muddy paw prints on our one back porch window, to reach a mesh seed holder, hanking it loose from under the roof. The seed of course was devoured.
All our garbage cans have the lock down lids. But that does not deter black bears. There were soda cans strewn all over.

Saturday morning, we went looking for all the missing items. This is when we learned a habit of this particular black bear. Please"Bear" with me. :-)
The garbage can was easy to spot. It was in the woods right behind our shed in the back yard. And we could see he dragged it, because of a trail of overturned wet leaves.
Shamus, which we have nick_named Rambo, because of his size and determination, pulled everything out of the black garbage bag.
What a mess there was to pick up.

Now, here is another very interesting part to this bear's behavior or organization if you will.
The suet holder and the missing bird feeder from the lower side of house,
and the garbage can from the mountain side of the house, were all taken to this one small area. This bear retrieved everything from different sections of the yard, and carried them to his chosen spot, to enjoy whatever he could find to eat.
The feeder and suet holders were empty but NOT destroyed.

Remember at the beginning of my story I mentioned the shredded tree that was in the clearing, a definite sign of a bear's territory.
It is just a "WILD" guess, but we think this bear is the one who marked that tree, because where he dragged everything into the woods, is directly across from that tree.

Monday March 30th. We hadn't seen any motion lights come on Sunday night, but discovered the bear was here yet again, checking out the garbage can. We left no feeders or suet holders up so nothing else is missing.
But we are sure he will back looking for more to eat.

~ Story written by İBarbara L Carter
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~ Song Title: ~ Wind Beneath My Wings ~

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