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Stay bear aware and think twice before you put out that bird feeder in Colorado

With the pleasant weather upon us, you might be tempted to hang a bird feeder on your patio. But Colorado Parks and Wildlife warns that feeder could instead attract unwanted visitors: Bears.
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Posted at 10:59 AM, May 18, 2023

The pleasant – albeit unpredictable – Colorado spring is upon us, and that means our wildlife is more active.

You might be tempted to put a bird feeder out on the balcony to attract beautiful avian visitors.

But Colorado Parks & Wildlife says bird feeders can draw unwanted guests as well: Bears.

“Bird feeders are very likely to become bear feeders, and full bird feeders quickly teach bears that it’s safe to come close to people and homes looking for food,” the agency writes on its website. “This is dangerous for bears and people alike.”

CPW says bird feeders should only be hung in the wintertime while bears are hibernating. The warning applies to any type of bird feeder, including hummingbird, suet and seed-based feeders.

Video into the Denver7 newsroom from a viewer in Colorado Springs shows a bear visiting her patio after she hung hummingbird feeders.

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A bear visits a patio where hummingbird feeders had recently been hung

This Denver7 journalist captured video of a bear taking down a hummingbird feeder on a balcony during a May visit to Vail.

A hummingbird feeder on a balcony in Vail instead becomes a snack for a bear.

CPW offers some alternatives for those who want to attract birds this time of year.

The agency recommends nesting boxes, bird gardens, hanging flower pots or bird baths. Some other tips from CPW include:

  • Add brightly colored, trumpet-shaped flowers around your home to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and a variety of beneficial insects.
  • Water sources, especially running water, do a better job of attracting a wider variety of birds year-round than a bird feeder.
  • Keep your water sources small. Bears don’t sweat, so larger ponds and uncovered hot tubs can actually attract bears looking for a place to cool off.

Intentionally feeding big game wildlife is against Colorado law and violators are subject to a fine. Read more about coexisting with Colorado wildlife here.

Reminder: In Colorado, your bird feeder can become a bear feeder (1).gif

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