Bear disassembles bird feeder, helps itself to breakfast

Sue and Gordon Lucey sent along these photos of a very agile bear that visited their Hillbrook Road yard on July 12. The Luceys were eating breakfast while, unbeknownst to them, a bear was doing the same, helping himself to some bird seed.
The bear did not destroy the feeder, rather it “disassembled a squirrel proof tubular nyjer (niger) seed feeder, ate several of the tiny seeds and left without otherwise damaging the feeder,” they wrote in an email accompanying the photos.
They discovered this when they went to raise the umbrella on their deck and noticed the feeder’s squirrel-proof cage on the patio and the plastic threaded fastener with “wings” underneath the feeder. While putting it all back together they noticed unusual scat on the ground so they went to their Stealth Cam trail camera and downloaded the video.
They found these images of the bear — one with its paws on the cage and the next, taken a minute later, shows the feeder without the cage and the bear’s head at the bottom of the feeder.
The Luceys emailed the photos to their son who is a wildlife biologist. He spent several years in Alaska where he encountered brown and black bears.
“He said that bears have an agile mouth and tongue that can perform some difficult tasks such as unscrewing the squirrel cage from the base of the tubular feeder,” they said.
The Luceys have had their Stealth Cam operating 24/7 since the end of 2014, and this is the first bear they have seen.

Hundreds of bears
Black bears in Connecticut are believed to number in the hundreds. They prefer to live in wooded areas with thick understory vegetation and abundant food resources. Since bears are omniverous — primarily eating grasses, fruits, nuts, berries and insects — they are also attracted to carrion, bird feeders and garbage cans.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, to avoid attracting bears:

  • Remove bird feeders from late March through November. If a bear visits a bird feeder in winter, remove the feeder.

  • Wait until the morning of collection before bringing out trash. Add a few capfuls of ammonia to trash bags and garbage cans to mask food odors. Keep trash bags in a container with a tight lid and store in a garage or shed.

  • Do not leave pet food outside overnight. Store livestock food in airtight containers.

  • Do not put meats or sweet-smelling fruit rinds in compost piles. Lime can be sprinkled on the compost pile to reduce the smell and discourage bears.

  • Thoroughly clean grills after use or store in a garage or shed.

  • Never intentionally feed bears. Bears that associate food with people may become aggressive and dangerous. This may lead to personal injury, property damage, and the need to destroy problem animals.

  • Encourage your neighbors to take similar precautions.

DEEP also advises if you see a bear:

  • Enjoy it from a distance.

  • Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms or walk slowly away.

  • Never attempt to feed or attract bears.

Report bear sightings to the Wildlife Division at 860-675-8130 or