Bear Mauling News: They are among us
Right at home
My first encounter with a black bear this year was in the spring while sitting next to the swamp at Great Falls National Park. The bear walked by at a distance and paid no attention to me. I didn’t feel real comfortable sitting there alone, so I finished up my painting and moved back to the parking lot. That was a red flag for the season.
The Potomac River is wood-lined and travels for hundreds of miles. Prime bear habitat is all along the way right up the edge of the Nation’s capital. Before all of us moved here, George Washington and George Mason enjoyed hunting here.
I was sitting in the woods at Potomac Overlook Park where the only bear that I was certain to encounter is the one stuffed in the Natural History Museum at the park. I went inside the museum and did a quick sketch. Then, I took my impression of the bear and put him back in the woods where it belonged.
“Black Bear Spotted in Fairfax County Resident's Backyard
Updated: Tuesday, 19 Jul 2011, 10:40 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 18 Jul 2011, 10:44 PM EDT
By BOB BARNARD/myfoxdc
McLEAN, Va. - Never before in the 16 years Ann Mitchell has lived on McLean's Snow Meadow Lane had she seen a black bear on her property.
On Sunday morning, when she was startled by the appearance of one feasting on bird seed from a feeder just outside her kitchen window, Ann grabbed her cell phone and started snapping.
"I was thinking, ‘How can we have a bear in McLean in my backyard?" Mitchell said. "And then I thought there are kids in the neighborhood. I was scared. I was really scared."
So she called Fairfax County Animal Control.
“Typically, [animal control officers] don't take action to remove a bear unless there's some type of threat," explained Fairfax County Police spokesman Lucy Caldwell, who says it is not unusual to see black bears coming out of the woods at this time of year.
"And the best thing that you can do is not be alarmed and remember they will continue to move on through the area. They're looking for food typically."
That is why authorities say you should not leave loose trash outside or seed in bird feeders.
Caldwell said the first black bear spotting in Fairfax County this summer was on June 10. The one seen in Ann Mitchell's backyard wandered off quickly and has not been seen since.