Warning: Your bird feeder may attract hungry black bears

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – State wildlife officials say northern Michigan residents can prevent run-ins with black bears by removing bird feeders.

Katie Keen of the Department of Natural Resources says bears that venture too close to people’s homes usually are attracted by food – and it’s often seed and suet in feeders. Even hummingbird feeders can draw bears’ interest.

Michigan’s bear population is estimated at over 12,000 adults. Of those, about 2,000 are in the northern Lower Peninsula and the others in the Upper Peninsula.

Bears tend to be shy, but will follow their noses to a reliable food supply. If they lose their natural fear of people, they can become dangerous.

Pet food, garbage, barbecue grills and beehives are other common lures. The DNR advises keeping them indoors.

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