Saturday, February 4, 2023



Bear incidents rising, many showing attacks on bird feeders

Bear sightings are on the rise. They have walked casually down urban streets in New York state’s Adirondacks, and of special interest to RVers that hang bird feeders in their campsite, several photos have been posted on Facebook of bears destroying bird feeders in search of food.

Wilton resident Marcia Lyon snapped a picture of a black bear in broad daylight snooping around yards and walking down the middle of Hopeful Lane, a suburban road in a neighborhood near McGregor Links Country Club, about 5 miles north of Saratoga Springs.

In recent days, the town of Wilton posted a warning on its website from the Department of Environmental Conservation: “DEC is shifting from an education mode to an enforcement mode” to deal with nuisance bears and the humans who attract them. Residents of Wilton who have bird feeders or other bear attractants out will be given a written warning. If they don’t heed the warning, they can be subject to a $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Forest rangers and the DEC have warned hikers about bears seeking out humans, and at Saranac Lake Islands campground on Route 3, reports have come in about bears frequenting campsites messy with food and other items of interest to hungry bears.

All told in DEC Region 5 – which covers Saratoga, Warren, Hamilton, Fulton and Essex counties and stretches north to the Canadian border – there have been more than 300 nuisance bear reports since May, according to Jim Stickles, a big game biologist with DEC. The encounters have cost some bears their lives.

The majority of those incidents – and all of the reports from Saratoga County – were classified as level three, when bears roam into yards and get into garbage cans or bird feeders. Nearly 50 incidents were considered to be of the most serious kind, which involves bears damaging or breaking into property or showing aggressive behavior toward humans. From


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