WORCESTER, Mass. — Wildlife officials are warning residents in parts of Massachusetts to beware of hungry bears as they begin to emerge from their winter dens and seek out food.
“If you live in northern Middlesex County, Worcester County, western Massachusetts, or other areas where bears have been spotted, it’s time to take down your bird feeders,” the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife said in a statement.
Residents in those areas are urged to take down their bird feeders and remove other food sources. Natural foods such as acorns and nuts are usually available on the ground, but last year’s fall hard mast crop was meager.
“Bears will often ignore seasonally available natural foods including skunk cabbage in favor of an easy meal at a backyard bird feeder,” officials said.
Officials noted that other animals including wild turkeys and coyotes may also frequent bird feeders leading to additional nuisances.
For those who enjoy watching birds, officials suggest adding a water feature, growing native plants, shrubs, and trees to attract to birds.
Bee hives, chickens, and livestock should also be secured with electric fencing, if possible.
There are at least 4,500 black bears in Massachusetts and their range is expanding east, according to officials.
For more information about black bears in Massachusetts, click here.
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