DEC warns homeowners to take down bird feeders to avoid bears

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation is urging homeowners to take down their bird feeders so they don’t instead become bear feeders.

The state says bird feeders and garbage cans can attract bears looking for food. Officials say they have already received reports of bears being spotted around homes.

“Due to poor natural food availability last fall, many black bears went into their dens with low fat reserves and as they begin to emerge from winter dens, have already begun seeking out food sources around homes,” the DEC writes.

The state is asking anyone who lives in “bear country” to take steps to remove easy food sources. “DEC has already received several reports that bears are knocking down bird feeders to eat the seed. Feeding bears either intentionally, which is illegal, or unintentionally through careless practices around properties, has consequences for entire communities.”

The DEC encourages homeowners to remove bird feeders by April 1.

Last June, there were multiple black bear sightings across the Rochester area, including in a Pittsford neighborhood.

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