We’ve had some unexpected visitors to our house this summer. One evening in July, I happened to be washing my hands at the kitchen sink when I noticed a black object moving around outside in the wood line underneath a pine tree. We do have a black feral cat around, but it was too big to be her. I thought maybe someone’s dog had gotten loose, but then I saw an ear and I knew exactly what it was. I yelled to my husband to join me and suddenly multiple shapes came into view. It was a mother black bear and her two cubs.
I could not believe my eyes. I began shaking and ran for my camera. I’ve never in my life had an experience like it and I may never have it again. We watched as Momma came down and invaded the bowls of cat food on our patio first. I had just fed the outside cats maybe an hour or so prior. I was bringing the cat food in around 9pm before it turned dark so that the wild animals don’t eat it. Well Momma bear was early and she helped herself to the leftovers.
Her two cubs, who looked like real live teddy bears, bumbled after her, playing and smelling the air, and standing up on their hind legs.
She must be a good mother. She looked thin and she had her summer coat on, but her babies looked happy, healthy, and playful. They made their way past my car and under the carport to the second set of bowls.
While eating, something spooked her and they all bolted up the embankment. We decided to go outside and check things out. I didn’t think we’d see them again. The ferals seemed very confused and scared. We could hear the bears moving around down in the woods so we went to take a peak. We spotted the cubs playing on a downed tree and Momma was near them. Momma began walking back towards our direction, but she didn’t see us at first. We shouldn’t have been out there, but it was mesmerizing. When Momma finally did spot us, she stood up on her hind legs and made a noise to signal the cubs. The cubs climbed up an extremely tall tree in what seemed like less than a second. That was amazing to witness. We knew we needed to get out of there and we came back inside the house, but we left our main door open and only shut the storm door which is almost entirely glass. Momma made her way back to the house to search for more food.
At one point, Momma came right up to the door and stood up on her hind legs right in front of me. My husband was watching at the window right beside the door. I could have reached out and touched her if the door wasn’t there. I began saying loudly and firmly: NO! NO! NO! and I finally shut the main door. I was concerned she could break through the glass of the storm door very quickly. My presence didn’t seem to phase her at all. She was constantly throwing her nose up in the air smelling. She was trying to find more food. She did run after one of our ferals a couple different times, but I think it’s because he kept hissing at her. I don’t know why he wouldn’t go to the opposite side of the house, but I think he was just very scared of her and didn’t want to move. I pounded on the windows when she lunged at him to try and distract her. We watched Momma for a long time. We went to different windows and doors in the house watching as she moved around the house. She walked so close to the sun room doors that we could have reached out and touched her in front of us if the doors weren’t there. It was an absolutely crazy experience, but everyone stayed safe. We’ve seen Momma and quite possibly some different bears several times since that initial experience, but I make sure not to leave any food outside longer than necessary. As soon as the cats are finished eating, I put their food away indoors. Our bird feeders are strung up high on small branches so the bears can’t get to them. They are gorgeous creatures to witness!