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Andersons find hungry 'guest'

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outdoors Wadena, 56482
Wadena PJ
(218) 631-1621 customer support
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

Diane and Jerry Anderson had company one Friday morning two weeks ago.

The two nature-lovers own a place that borders the north end of Black's Grove Park, two miles west of Wadena. Diane had just stopped by a window to check out the bird feeders in their yard when their company arrived from the direction of the 66-acre park.

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It was not a black bird, it was a black bear, and it was hungry.

The full-grown bear made its way up to a bird feeder and tried to take it apart in order to reach the bird seed. The feeder had survived birds and squirrels for a year, but Diane had doubts about how well it would stand up to a bear.

There was only one thing to do.

"I yelled to Jerry to take a look, I grabbed the camera and went outside and I yelled at it and clapped my hands," Anderson said. "It did move from one feeder to the next, but it certainly wasn't real frightened. It kind of turned and looked at me and moved to the next feeder, so then I got a little closer and clapped my hands really loud and it slowly ambled away again."

The bear headed north and the Andersons believed it kept going in that direction. They later heard several bird feeders belonging to people living north of their place were also damaged.

Diane isn't too shaken up by the experience.

"I really wasn't (scared) because everything I have heard about black bears is that they are as afraid of humans as humans are of them," Anderson said. "There weren't any cubs around, so I really thought if I made enough human noise it would know it was not welcome."

Bears are not unheard of in the Wadena area, but it is the first one the Andersons have encountered since moving to their place on 620th Avenue 14 years ago.

"I'm thinking they are a little bit north, but I also know that about 10 years ago we had a naturalist who lived in the area and spent a lot of time at Black's Grove, and he had told me all of the animals he suspected lived there, and he told me at that point that there was certainly evidence that a bear either was there or had lived there recently," Anderson said. "It's a natural, protected area."

The Andersons have had deer, coyote, wild turkey, rabbits, skunks and woodchucks visit their bird feeders, but never a bear.

"I don't put up fences," Diane said. "They were here first."

Diane does not raise a garden anymore, and she does not have a compost heap. They were both too tempting. Some of their "neighbors" have even eaten the flowers next to their house and come up to the front step.

So what happens if the bear returns?

"I will probably shout again and take another picture," Diane said.

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Brian Hansel
(218) 631-2561
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