SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Every once in a while, 22News shows you pictures or video of a bear coming a little too close to homes here in western Massachusetts , but there are ways that you can avoid attracting bears to your backyard.
Bears are coming out of their hibernation this time of year, and that means our chances for bear encounters will be on the rise as they wake from their slumber in search of food.
Bears are always ready for the next meal, and you have a bird feeder in your yard or open trash containers near your home, you're inviting hungry bears to come and investigate.
"Their wooded areas are getting really close to our houses because we're building closer, and it's easy food. If you had the choice of hunting or finding berries or you had a bird feeder sitting right there, you'd eat out of the bird feeder," said Kim Madrak, head zookeeper at the Zoo at Forest Park.
Having available food, like bird feeders near your home could also attract other animals like squirrels and raccoons.
Removing bird feeders during the warmer months, when bears are awake, will reduce your chances of an encounter. But if you do spot a bear near your property, the safest place to be is inside.
If you're too nervous because of a nearby bear, you can always call wildlife control for assistance.