Emi Angeli had been storing bird seed in a metal container on her back porch — until it drew an unexpected visitor.
She shared pictures Thursday morning of a large bear in her backyard off Aden Road after the bear had ripped the screen to the porch to get to the seeds and the bird feeders.
She wasn't alone. On Sunday night, Charlie Moore said he spotted a black bear crossing Dale Boulevard near Interstate 95 and the bus depot.
Last week, a bear was spotted off Minnieville Road in Dale City near Cardinal Drive.
In late spring and early summer bears are hungry and on the move in search of food, according to animal control.
In an effort to avoid problems, officers offers the following tips and suggestions for dealing with hungry bears:
- Remove food sources that might attract hungry bears. This includes bird feeders, garbage, pet food, outdoor grills, livestock food, compost, fruit trees and beehives. Virginia’s bears are primarily active and very hungry from late March through May, so temporarily removing these items, or scrupulously cleaning them if you cannot remove them, should help.
- Do not store trash – or anything that smells like food – in vehicles, on porches, or decks. Keep your full or empty trash containers secured in a garage, shed or basement. If you do not have a trash collection service, take your garbage to the Landfill frequently (twice a week or more). If you do have a trash collection service, put your garbage out the morning of the pickup rather than the night before.
- Take down your bird feeders temporarily until the bear moves on.
- Consider installing electric fencing, an inexpensive and extremely efficient, proven deterrent to bears, around dumpsters, gardens, beehives or other potential food sources.
More tips from animal control:
If you see a bear, keep a respectful distance. If a bear is up a tree on or near your property, give it space. Bring your pets inside and leave the immediate area.
If you see a bear cub in the area, do not try to remove it from the area or “rescue it.” Female bears – who may give birth while hibernating in the winter den – will wander to find food, usually with her cubs in tow. If she feels nervous, she will typically send her cubs up a tree and leave the area.
Always remember that a bear is a wild animal, and that it is detrimental to the bear – as well as illegal in Virginia – to feed a bear under any circumstances. Even the inadvertent feeding of nuisance bears is illegal.
If you experience a bear problem after taking appropriate preventative steps, please notify the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries regional office. Visit their website at dgif.virginia.gov for more information.