All birders have at one time or another dealt with bird feeder pests like insects, mice or squirrels, raccoons, and deer that came to feed on their birdseed.
However, this article will focus on keeping bears away from bird feeders and ensuring they never come around.
As a bird lover, it is vital that you learn how to protect your bird feeders from hungry bears because they can cause significant damages to your property.
About Bear Visitation
Occasionally, both the grizzly bear and the black bears will visit your bird feeders.
During early summer, when bears have finished hibernating and there is food scarcity, they’ll find their way into town in search of food to feed themselves and their hungry cubs.
The Omnivorous nature of bears allows them to consume a wide range of food.
Although most of what bears eat is plant-based, like fruits, seeds, and grains, this is why they see bird feeders as a good food source.
Bears have a tremendous sense of smell that can detect even the tiniest food particles far away, and they can be very persistent in their quest to break into any bird feeder they find.
That’s not all
Bears will damage the bird feeder in the process and not allow birds to have access to their feeder.
Once a bear finds out that there is a bird feeder somewhere with food, it will return to that location again and again to feed.
This is why you need to stop the bears from finding out about the feeders in the first place.
Why Do Bears Need To Stay Away From Bird Feeders?
Bears are gifted with strength, which makes them strong animals with a huge desire for food. However, despite the attraction of bears to the bird feeder, the bears are playing a dangerous game.
- A bear can lay siege to a bird feeder and eat all the bird seeds there. However, what the bear doesn’t know is that what they are eating from the feeder won’t provide sufficient nutrition that is required for a healthy diet, especially in the lives of their cubs.
- A bear that has made a bird feeder his new home can catch a deadly disease from the bird feeder, most especially if the feeder is dirty and contaminated.
When the above happens, and the bear becomes infected with something from the feeder, they’ll go home and infect their local population.
- Any bear that finds its way to a bird feeder can suffer a paw injury, eye and mouth injury from trying to eat from a broken feeder with sharp parts. Furthermore, the damage can lead to disability, infection, and other problems.
- Bears who always get their daily meals from bird feeders are at risk of getting hit by a car or getting shot accidentally or on purpose by scared humans.
For the bear to have access to a bird feeder, it needs to enter human-occupied areas. In which case, anything can happen.
- If a bear decides to make the feeder his favorite spot for quick meals and is accustomed to it. They may never want to leave the human-occupied areas.
The local wildlife officials might find it very hard to chase the bear away in situations like this. So the only choice they may have is to put down the animal.
How To Keep Bears Away From Bird Feeders?
If you want to protect the bears so they don’t get killed and also protect your bird feeder from intruders and damages, these are the best possible ways to stop bears from accessing your feeder.
Take out the feeders
If your bear problem is a big one, you might need to remove the feeder from sight during spring and summer, between the middle of April and late October.
Although, there can be a difference with the date, depending on your local bear activity. For the birds, they’ll just have to make do with other sources of food.
Also, ensure that you don’t have spilled seeds on the floor because they can attract bears to your property.
Clean the feeding area
As we mentioned above, you need to eliminate any food particles on the floor that can attract bears because their sense of smell is second to none.
You can use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of hulls and spilled seeds or place a mesh net or trays under the feeder to catch a seed or food particle that falls off.
This method will not only stop seed spillage; it will also decrease unpleasant smells that can attract bears.
Mount your feeders properly
Before you mount your bird feeders, you need to consider the various threats that the feeder might face and think of ways to evade them.
Bears are known to climb poles in their quest to get to your bird feeder or they might lean on the pole and push their entire weight against it to knock the feeder down.
You should get a solid metal pole for security reasons and mount the feeder 10 to 12ft high in the sky to deter bears. Furthermore, the pole needs to be highly secured in the ground so that it can’t be easily knocked over or uprooted.
Alternatively, you can mount your feeder on a cable or wire that is tied to two trees. As long as the feeder is high up in the sky and 5 or 6ft away from trees that bears can climb, your feeder will be fine.
Choose other types of food
Bears are usually attracted to seed and suet feeders, and in some rare cases, they’ll take a sip from leaking nectar feeders or hunt for feeders that have fruits in them.
Instead of placing various mouth-watering seeds in your feeder, you can add Nyjer or safflower seed to your feeder, and the bears will be on their way because both seeds have a bitter taste.
That’s not all
If you have other pets in your house like a dog or a cat, you need to remove their leftover food because it can also attract bears over to your home.
Ensure your trash is secure and your barbecue grills are clean, so there’s no tantalizing scent hovering around your house that a bear can pick up.
Also, you can stop using feeders and start planting natural foods to feed your birds.
Indeed, bears will still try to investigate your farm to see if they can survive on its proceeds, especially if they like what they see there.
However, they won’t stay for long once they notice that the bird feeder is gone because it’s seen as a source of their daily meal.
Purchase strong feeders
Usually, a bear’s claws and strong jaws can break into any feeder because most bears are hardworking and will never give up until they succeed in laying their hands on your precious bird seeds.
However, this doesn’t mean you should make it easy for them by getting a sub-standard feeder to start with. It would help if you got feeders that were made from thick, long-lasting recycled plastic or solid metal.
Alternatively, you can leverage cage feeders and tube feeders because they make it very difficult for the bear to have easy access to the feeder.
Store your seeds properly
Bird feeders are not the only thing attracting bears to your property; they can also leverage their noses and trace the smell of bird seeds to your yard.
If you want to store your reserve seeds, ensure it’s stored in a secure, airtight container. Also, ensure the container is kept indoors in a locked shed or garage that bears can’t enter.
Spice up your birdseed
You can add plenty of red pepper to your bird seeds to discourage bears from eating them. Most birds don’t like hot pepper and won’t eat the seeds if they find out it’s too hot and spicy.
However, they could get used to the spicy taste and continue to eat your bird seeds with time.
This is why you should also sprinkle pepper on the ground or pour ammonia or vinegar around the feeder to chase away sensitive bears.
Install motion-sensor lights close to your bird feeders so that once any bear gets close, its movement will trigger the lights and scare the bears.
Once the bright light suddenly comes on, it will disrupt the flow and vision of the bear, thereby pushing them to run and hide in the nearest dark corner where they feel safe.
Keep your fences in good repair
If you have a fence in your compound, ensure it is bear-resistant. A strong metal fence of at least 6ft tall is the recommended size if you want to prevent bears from getting on your property.
Also, ensure to close your gates at all times.
The Bottom Line
Once you apply the above methods of how to keep bears away from bird feeders, you’ll definitely prevent bears from getting on your property.
Don’t forget that the harder it is to have access to the feeder, the higher the possibility of the bears leaving your property and never coming back.