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It's That Time Again: Officials Say Taking Down Bird Feeders Will Keep Bears Out Of The Yard

With spring on the way, state conservation officials say it's time for residents to take in their bird feeders.

Even as winter weather continues, the Department of Fish and Game's bear project leader Andrew Timmins says bears are waking up – and they're hungry for rich, fatty foods like birdseed.

"Bears have excellent memories. They know where they've got 'em in the past, and they'll routinely check those areas to see if those feeders are still available,” he says. “And they'll just start searching backyards in general looking for that food.”

New Hampshire has more than 6,000 American black bears, and they usually aren't aggressive.

But Timmins says when they get too used to human food, they can start entering houses...or turning up in places like downtown Manchester, which causes what he describes as “utter mayhem.”

“We have bears statewide and they can show up anywhere,” Timmins says. “Regardless of where you live, I think you need to be cognizant of attracting bears to your yard.”

Bears that become a nuisance may have to be killed. Fish & Game recommends taking down bird feeders by April 1, if not sooner.

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Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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