Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Bear and Hummingbird feeder video, Part II

Linda writes:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 10:12 am
Subject: Bear in Hummingbird Feeder Photo

Hi Mike,

this is Linda Masterson, author of Living with Bear: A Practical Guide to Bear Country (

Wendy at Sinapu forwarded me your bear in the hummingbird feeder photo last year, and somehow I misfiled your info and just discovered it.

I wondered if you had any other photos of this incident (or any others) I am looking for a good photo showing a bear with a hummingbird feeder - tried looking at this one in b&w, and it does not show up very well.

I am also working on a redo of all of the Division of Wildlife's bear literature (as a volunteer) and we are collecting photos for use in brochures and fact sheets...

So, if you have anything you are willing to share and give permission to use, we'd be very grateful. I'd be happy to send you a copy of my book as a thank you if you'll send your address.

Thanks a bunch,

Linda Masterson
Living with Bears: A Practical Guide to Bear Country
livewithbears (at)
Practical Guide to Bear Country

My reply:

Dear Linda,

The picture looks like it came from a video I took.

You can find the video at
Bear, Hummingbird feeder

Since the video is about 10 seconds long, and I think it's showing at 15 frames a second, you should have 150 frame (pictures) to choose from. However, all were taken from the same angle. I chased the bear off right after this. I did not want him to think that coming onto my deck was exceptable behaviour. Also, and the bear broke the feeder with his bite in his hurry to get to the sugar water.

I personally do not have a bad relationship with this bear. It once watched me for about 20 minutes while I was busy doing something about a mile from my home(where the video was taken). Te bear sate uphill on a jeep track and could have charged. But it just sat there after giving a snort to let me know it was there. It seemed that the bear was just letting me know I was its' guest at the edge of it's territory.

Yes, I did have a exit to a nearby tree planned in case it charged. ...And I'm good at climbing trees.

As it was, I got done what I doing and left without incident.

However, my next neighbor has had endless trouble with bears. One night a bear used it's powerful claws to bend the top edge of the door frame away from the body of the minivan. The bear appears to have left when the safety glass suddenly shattered because the frame had been bent out by about an inch.

The year before that a bear made off with a 150 lb goat. That was a shame because I would borrow the goat to mow my lawn, thistle path and cheat grass patch. Now I have to pay the same neighbor's kid to do the same.

A bear also went right through an electric fence to make it's way into a chicken coup a couple of years ago.

If you send me the time stamp of the exact frame you an want, I can probably find it on the original video and extract a black and white version of it. A proper adjustment of the contrast should fade out the background trees so that the picture works in black and white.

By the way, this morning I heard a familiar chirping sound in the neighborhood of the hummingbird feeder. I had put it up last summer again, once it was clear that the bear was ignoring my house in favor of having a territorial spat with the neighbor.

There was still a bit of sugar water in it from last summer. The water has been frozen for much of the last 5 months. But a familiar woodpecker had to check to see if his favorite nectar was available. I'm sure he'll keep checking back until it melts.

I wonder what will happen come May when the hummingbirds will want their share.