Calgary

Bear spotted in Bowness backyard chowing down on bird feeder remains at large

Residents in the northwest Calgary community of Bowness are on the lookout for a black bear that spent most of the day nonchalantly lounging in a backyard before wandering away.

Residents say black bear lounged while eating bird seed before wandering off

A black bear reclines in Wendy and Ernie Ooms' backyard, where he remained for the majority of the day. (Supplied by Wendy Ooms)

Residents in the northwest Calgary community of Bowness are on the lookout for a black bear that spent most of the day nonchalantly lounging in a backyard before wandering away.

Bownesian Wendy Ooms noticed the furry trespasser when she glanced through her kitchen window.

Her husband, Ernie, told the Calgary Eyeopener Wednesday morning that she immediately called 911 to report the bear.

"[The bear] looked like he's … maybe two years old, a couple of hundred pounds," he said. "Just a young guy, I guess."

The Ooms didn't seem too concerned about the potential dangers of a bear on the loose, and were more perturbed by the loss of their bird feeder, which the bear broke before stealing.

"The worst thing was, [the bear] bent my bird feeder down so he could lay on the grass and eat it without standing up," Ernie said. "And then he came back a couple of hours later … and just took my bird feeder and left with it."

The black bear locates the Ooms' bird feeder in Bowness. (Supplied by Wendy Ooms)
(Supplied by Wendy Ooms)
(Supplied by Wendy Ooms)
(Supplied by Wendy Ooms)

Province considering location for bear trap

Katherine Thompson, a communications advisor with the Alberta government, confirmed to CBC Calgary that Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch officers are aware of the reported bear sightings and are monitoring the situation.

She said they are also working on determining "a potential location to set a trap." 

According to Jay Honeyman, a human wildlife conflict biologist with Alberta Environment and Parks, it's the season for bears to be highly motivated by food — and those who keep finding it will have little incentive to leave neighbourhoods.

"Right now they're trying to fatten up for the denning period in October, and they're just constantly looking for food," Honeyman said.

"If they find success within a residential area, and there's no negative consequences to getting that food, they could stick around."

Keeping food indoors is one way to discourage them, Honeyman says.

"We'd ask that people would try to secure the food source that the bear might be getting in to," he told CBC Calgary. "If there's no food for the bear, generally the bear's just going to move on."

Steps to keep bears from residential areas

In addition to securing food, the Alberta government also recommends residents:

  • Store garbage in bear-resistant and odour-proof containers or buildings until it can be removed from your property.
  • Refrain from using bird feeders between April 1 and Nov. 30.
  • Ensure that barbecues and outdoor eating areas are kept clean.
  • Consider using an indoor compost.
  • Maintain gardens and fruit trees.
  • Never leave pet food outside.
  • Store animal carcasses including bones, hides and waste in a bear-resistant building.

With files from Terri Trembath and the Calgary Eyeopener

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