An Unexpected Garden Guest …

North American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) in a Marshy Area at the Edge of the Forest

The young black bear seemed content; bathing in the pool, while sampling wild berries and greens

We kept a watchful eye on one another throughout the visit

On my way out to the car yesterday afternoon, I caught a bit of motion just beyond the driveway where my forest meets a marshy area. It took me a moment to realize that I was looking straight into the eyes of a black bear. I froze in my tracks and for a tense few minutes, we sized each other up. Closer to my car than the house, I tentatively moved forward and slipped inside the passenger side door. The bear seemed unfazed. Slowly, the shiny, black animal made its way to the water line for a bath. I watched from the safety of my car as my guest splashed about the pool of rainwater and sampled some wild berries. I took these photos from my car window.

Living such a remote area, I see many wild animals here. But, it’s been quite some time since I’ve had such a close encounter with a bear. North American black bear —the only species of bear living in Vermont— are rarely aggressive, but it’s always best to play it safe and keep your distance. Read more about this amazing animal from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Website by clicking here.

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9 Replies to “An Unexpected Garden Guest …”

  1. John

    Wow! She’s beautiful! I have lots of wildlife in my garden and the woods behind it, but I never expect to see a bear. You’re lucky!

  2. Michaela

    @ John – I was definitely surprised, and although not truly frightened, I could hear my heart pounding and feel the rush of adrenaline! It was amazing! With all the wild berries around here, I’m sure this is heaven-on-earth for bear! ;) M

  3. Michaela

    @ Wendy – No, I don’t leave food out for any wildlife. But I do grow things this bear might come after, and we’ll see what happens with the compost bin! I’ve lived in the wilds all my life, and I’ve only seen a bear once or twice before… Never this close.

  4. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Hi Michaela, I must say, he looks quite happy sunning himself there by the water’s edge! I say “he” because being alone, and coming so close to you, it’s more than likely a young, inexperienced male. (You do still have spring bear hunting in Vermont, I assume? In November 2000, the “powers-that-be” here in Ontario abolished the spring hunt. We already had the largest population of black bears in North America (between 75 -100,000 animals). Since then we’ve developed a huge over-population problem with bears coming right into towns and cities looking for food and, within a few years all of our bee hives were devoured/destroyed in spite of electric-fencing.) “Nature abhors an imbalance.”
    Are you into raspberry season then? Ours here are still forming up, as it’s been such a cool, wet spring. Enjoy your berries (when your “friend’s” not around; ) xo D

  5. Michaela

    @ Deb – I love that you know that about black bear. I am woefully ignorant about the species, but eager to learn more now that I have one shadowing my forest. Exciting to me, really. But, no, we do not seem to have the same population problems you are suffering in your area. I believe that at this time, there is a short bear hunting season here in late autumn (November, I think). I do have friends with bee hive / bear problems. M

  6. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    One thing though… Be sure to watch where you’re walking out there: (you wouldn’t want to step in his leavings! ; ) xo D

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