Black Bear Breaks Fence, Knocks Down Bronson Road Resident's Birdfeeder

Avon resident Tahra Richardson warns against leaving bird seed out in the warmer months.

A black bear broke a chain link fence while climbing over it into a Bronson Road yard Thursday and knocked over the birdfeeder, according to Chief Mark Rinaldo.

But that did not scare Avon resident Tahra Richardson, who saw her first black bear while visiting her friend, not far from . Standing no more than 15 feet away in her friend's screened-in porch, she used her iPhone to .

"It looked like a bear in a honey jar," said Richardson, likening the creature to a "hamster with claws."

It was much bigger than a hamster, though. Richardson said in the video that the bear was as big as the picnic table in the backyard.

"I felt so privileged to have been able to see a beautiful creature today and to have been so close and not been afraid," she said.

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Richardson said that she arrived 30 minutes after the bear came into the yard and her friend called the police. In the meantime, her friend and her 93-year-old mother banged pots and pans and blew a whistle to try to scare it off.

"They made all this noise to scare the bear off and it wasn't going anywhere," Richardson said. "The bear was just hanging out by the hummingbird feeder. It was preoccupied opening plastic canisters."

Richardson waited for the police to arrive while her friend brought her mom to an appointment. When Rinaldo got there the bear was gone.

He said to avoid leaving bird seed, garbage and food out in the open because it attracts bears.

"They're lazy animals, so if it's there, they're just going to take it and eat it," Rinaldo said. "If you see a bear, the suggestion is to make yourself known. Don't run away from the bear. It will chase you."

There was another bear sighting on last week and an Avon resident reported another sighting on Woodhaven Road to The Hartford Courant and The Avon News.

Rinaldo said that the police department has received 29 calls reporting bear sightings between January and August in comparison to 74 during that time frame last year. He said residents should call the police dispatch line if they see a bear — (860) 409-4200 — and 911 if the bear poses a threat.

"Every town needs to have a plan for its bear population," Richardson said.

She said her friend's mother is reluctant to get rid of her birdfeeder because she wants it out there for the birds.

But after Thursday Richardson said she'd advise against it.

For safety tips on what to do if you encounter a black bear, visit the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's website.

Editor's Note: If there's something in this article that you think should be corrected or if you have questions or a news tip give Avon Patch Editor Jessie Sawyer a ring at 860-356-6339 or shoot her an e-mail at Jessie.Sawyer@patch.com.

Concerned Resident September 07, 2012 at 01:33 AM
There is absolutely nothing the police will or can do about the bears unless they are going after someone. The state DEP doesn't respond to bear sightings so why bother any police dept? There's no where else for them to go. You don't call the police on a deer, so why call on a bear? To have Chief Rinaldo say to residents call the police is ridiculous.
Tahra Richardson September 07, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Well this is a new situation for me and I did not call the police. However.... in any circumstance with a wild animal involved... I would err on the side of caution. I grew up in Avon in the 60's and deer were abundant. Not bears. Not Lyme disease. Not coyotes. Red tail Hawks were not diving down and killing small dogs. The development of Avon Mountain and other environmental factors have created a problem which has to be addressed and dealt with soon. Before someone in Avon in injured or killed. Thank you to Chief Rinaldo for temporarily supporting the many calls coming in from Avon residents. (3-4 daily) A neighborhood that has been educated about the presence of a bear can take additional precautions to avoid tragedy. Hopefully the government will implement some laws soon. In the mean time...kudos to our wonderful chief for keeping track of bear locations along with all his other responsibilities! DO NOT FEED BEARS DO NOT APPROACH BEERS DO NOT KEEP BIRD FEEDERS IN YOUR YARD DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS IF YOU LIVE IN A RURAL AREA. HUMMINGBIRD NECTAR ALSO ATTRACTS BEARS. DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS UNATTENDED. SECURE YOUR HOUSEHOLD GARBAGE IN A GARAGE OR INDOORS
Karen's Dog Training Blog September 07, 2012 at 01:30 PM
The DEEP has been trying for years to educate people to STOP leaving bird feeders out in the spring/summer/early fall because bears will come to the feeders. Do not leave pet food outside either. We can all be part of the solution if we follow a few simple rules. Recently a bear in Madison was killed for being "aggressive". Authorities said a person had been feeding the bear. If you feed a wild animal such as a bear or coyote, you are acclimating it to humans and teaching it that humans mean food. Then you end up with a "problem" wild animal. Personally what we really have is a problem human. I understand that people love to feed and watch birds, but it is not good to feed them in spring/summer/early when bears are out and about more. If you report bears sightings to DEEP, that data is used when the subject of bear hunting season comes up. I agree - why call the police over a bear unless the bear is actually being a danger? Even when a mother bear killed a dog in Avon last year, ACO LaPlume and others involved did not kill the bear. They understood the bear was protecting her young from a percieved threat. Even the dog owner did not blame the bear. It was a tragic accident - part of living with the animals around us. We need to live with nature and not fear it
Helen Mazur September 07, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Could be the same bear that visited Sylvan Street at 10:15 AM on Sunday. He/she sure was beautiful. Enjoyed watching while it lounged around eating for 45 minutes. We also watched from the safety of my mother in laws home. It was her feeder that the bear was after. We encourage her not to feed the birds too, but she is home all day and enjoys watching them.
Tahra Richardson September 09, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I hear you Helen. It is a delicate balance. Glad you had the experience too. It is a once in a lifetime event!!


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