Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Honey, is that you?

It wasn't caught on eMammal, but dMammal and the "D" in dMammal stands for Donnelly! 
Richard Donnelly reports "Here are the details from our event this morning":

We have a motion detector light outside our bedroom door.  It went on about 0430. Diane noticed it and thinking there might be a raccoon went out into the great room for a look-see... Surprise!  Well, she hurried back to the BR, smacked me on the foot and said, commandingly, "Get UP!  Her nostrils were flaring, you know, like they used to 15 years ago when she was looking for a little action ;-)  I said "huh?"  She says "BEAR"!  I said, "I AM bare!"

Anyhow, we found her (I believe it was a female) working on dismantling/destroying a bird seed feeder hanging from a porch rafter.  As it turned out, she had already mangled two hummingbird feeders nearby.

She was only a few feet away so I rapped loudly on the dining room door.  She was nonplussed. I opened the door slightly and barked like, well, Bruno, or Hobo, or Chester, Zoe, Varley, Malley, Toby, Te Bak, Bailey or Sieger, all family friends who can bite and snap on command.  Well, she just came a little closer and stared calmly with a look like "your can't be serious".  I knew then she must be a female.  She then returned to the bird feeder she was working over.

That's when I got out our trusty boat horn.  The first blast distracted her and she came down from the railing, but then came to the door again and sniffed the crack where it closes.  This, I determined, was not good at all so I stuck the horn on the crack for another blast.  That frightened her and she ran down the breezeway for maybe 20 feet, but soon returned for more seed which was scattered everywhere.

Finally, she crawled down one of the support logs and ambled away, stopping briefly to grab a suet cake, most likely to settle her stomach.

Clearly, I have learned some major lessons:

1. It's not true that the bear only stops once here each Spring.  This was at least the 2nd.
2. I give a rather poor imitation of a barking dog.
3. Bears apparently like a little seed with their hummingbird nectar.
4. Don't misinterpret Diane's flaring nostrils.
5. After they step in nectar, a bear's tracks look like clinched fists -- perhaps a message to us humans to take better care of the environment.
6. Bears don't care if you turn on all the exterior lights.
7. If you try a flash photo when she is in the woods next door, she comes across looking like a four-footed zombie of sorts.
8. It's probably best I did not bring out the Glock -- most likely I would have shot out a picture window.
9. I need to have a Barry Manilow album ready to play next time.  Most bears, like humans, can't stand him.
10.  No need to hide our trusty composter.  Two visits -- little interest.
11. I wonder if I can get credit for this sighting report from our local Virginia Master Naturalist chapter (just kidding).
12.  Okay, okay, I'll put away the feeders every night from now on...
In all seriousness, I thought the bear was magnificent, all 300 lbs of her.  :-)

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