Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Bear News

September 9 - a Supermoon is rising tonight, but it is cloudy so we will not see it. So instead, I'll give you a picture from two nights ago, as the moon rose over the Chenango River near downtown Binghamton, New York.  Not that it has anything to do with my post - I just wanted to start with this picture.
Nature is on my mind, and the impact it continues to have on our lives is something I think about often.

We were walking three or so Sundays ago on the Vestal Rail Trail, a walking trail we try to frequent at least once a week where we live in upstate New York.

We approached a bridge carrying elevated traffic that crosses over the trail. My spouse suddenly stopped, and seemed reluctant to continue.  He was acting so strangely, in fact, that I wondered if he was in some medical distress. It scared me for a minute

"I'm not sure if I want to keep walking", he said. "I heard a strange sound - maybe it was a motorcycle, I don't know".  I hadn't heard the sound but my hearing isn't the best - so I told him "if you have an instinct not to go any further, let's not."

We turned around.

This was so different from how my spouse normally behaves, and I wondered what he had heard or seen as we walked back to our car, cutting our walk short by about a mile.

When we got to our car he said "I thought I heard a bear."

Where we live, in the "Triple Cities"of upstate New York, this is not a joke.  Vestal has been seeing a lot of black bear sightings, and one of the recent sightings (May, I think), in fact, was on the Vestal Rail Trail near to where my spouse was spooked by something.

And then, last weekend, we found this on the sidewalk of the trail near to where spouse heard the noise. Let's just call it what animals leave behind after the digestive process is complete.

I hope it was a deer.  Anyone know for sure? 

It's small consolation to know that bears may be more afraid of us than we of them.

Someone at work set up an automatic camera in her yard, and showed us some amazing footage of bears in her back yard.  And, my guest photographer (who lives out in the country) takes in her bird feeders at night.  One night she was a few minutes late and had her own close encounter with a bear.  The bear ran off.

But they don't always run.  Sometimes they attack.  A high school friend who lives in Florida had her neighborhood make the national news for bear attacks.  
 

It isn't only bears.  A fox that may have been rabid attacked three members of an Endicott family earlier this summer.  And, last year, we had our own close (or not so close) encounter, again on the Vestal Rail trail. We were alone, right after a rain, and are fairly certain a bobcat ran out and crossed the trail right in front of us.

You never heard about this kind of thing when we first moved to upstate New York in the 1980's.  But it is definitely becoming more and more common.  Increasingly, we know we are sharing our lives with wildlife.

It isn't just squirrels and sparrows (and the occasional skunk or raccoon anymore.

Do you have any stories of your own to share?

9 comments:

  1. I haven't seen any this year, but in other years I've seen bears walk across my back yard, and most of our neighbors have as well. One used to go to the trouble of bringing her bird feeders in every night, and then puts them back out every morning, but then one day we all saw a bear knock one down in the middle of the day, so she doesn't put them out at all any more.

    There have also been stories of bobcat sightings all around our area, but I have not seen one.

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  2. Well, it's not deer poo...

    Be safe but don't live in fear! Rabies is rare and the National Forest Service has EXCELLENT information about living with bears.

    Enjoy nature and count yourself lucky when you witness something beyond a squirrel!

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  3. Hey Alana

    I am extremely scared of 'wildlife encounters.' In fact, I refused to hike with my husband in Alaska because we were told that sightings of Mooses and Bears were very common. lol

    Please take care of yourself #HUGSSSSS

    Much love
    Kitto

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  4. I been doing some walking. Once a week I try to go some place different. I got some good pictures of the moon.
    Coffee is on

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  5. I hope it's not a bear, and the local government must deal with this issues. Be safe

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  6. Be safe... I've not yet had any close encounters with the wildlife except if you count monkeys in it...But just the thought of the close proximity between the two worlds sometimes unnerves me a little

    Random Thoughts Naba...Every Woman should...

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  7. Absolutely beautiful moon, Alana. It's so encouraging to know that I'm gazing at the same moon that my friends from all over the world are gazing at, too. That's not deer droppings, by the way! We have lots of wildlife encounters here in Nebraska. It always thrills me to see a deer, or a coyote, or a 'coon (as long as it's not killing one of my chickens). We've seen mountain lion tracks down by our pond, but have never seen one in the flesh. They seem to be as shy of us as we are scared of them!

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  8. Intuition combined with a strange sound is well worth acting upon. In England, we rarely contact anything dangerous. Maybe foxes or the occasional rat. Scary enough if you're in no position to defend yourself. But--nature is wonderful, as you say.

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  9. I didn't see the supermoon, I am gutted!
    I hope that it isn't a bear, eeeek! What on earth would the locals do if it was?

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