Bear balancing on deck
Photo by Janice Whybourne

Bear performs incredible balancing act to reach hummingbird feeder

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A trail cam recently captured a bear in an impressive balancing act, as it attempted to raid a hummingbird feeder.

The camera, which was attached to Thunder Bay-resident Janice Whybourne’s house, caught the bear balancing on the deck’s railing on all fours.

But the bear might be as stealth as it is agile.

Whybourne and her husband were right inside, but she told CBC News that they didn’t hear a thing.

The couple’s home is located outside the city, so she knew there were lots of wild animals roaming around outside her door.

“When we moved…just outside of the city proper, we were having neighbours telling us, ‘Oh, we saw lynx, we saw a bear,’ different wild creatures,” she said.

But the neighbours’ stories weren’t the only indication that something was going on outside. Whybourne said their hummingbird feeder was getting destroyed at night.

She and her husband assumed a raccoon was the culprit, but they’d never seen one hanging around. To find out exactly what was going on, they installed a trail cam. After viewing the footage, they were surprised to not only find a bear, but one with such incredible footing.

Although Whybourne already takes measures to bear-proof her home, like making sure garbage isn’t left out and avoiding composting, she didn’t consider the bird feeder.

According to Bear Smart Durango, which is based out of Colorado, bird feeders are often a wild bear’s first exposure to human foods, and studies have found that more than 80 percent of nuisance bear activity can be traced back to a bear’s first encounter with bird feeders.

If you must have a feeder, Bear Smart recommends making them inaccessible to bears by hanging them “at least 10 feet from the ground and six feet from any climbable structure,” which includes railings.

The bear didn’t cause any serious damage to the deck, besides a few scratches and a little mud, but it’s important to ensure the bear’s visits don’t become habit. Whybourne told CBC that she’s since removed the bird feeder altogether.

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