A local resident is spreading the word about a recent bear incident in Clearfield County.
Linda Ferraraccio, a resident of Sylvan Heights in DuBois, was a registered nurse for many years and recently retired.
Ferraraccio has taken up bird watching as one of her newfound hobbies. She enjoys preparing feeders for different birds and watching them while she has her morning coffee, and her son even bought her a pair of binoculars.
Ferraraccio has five bird feeders, including a container for her favorite woodpecker. That container hangs high from one of the trees. Another of her favorites to spot is the yellow canary, a member of the finch family.
Recently, though, Ferrarccio woke to find one of her bird feeders had been torn down, as had a finch sock. To her surprise, she also found bear droppings in her yard.
Considering Ferraraccio lives in a pretty well populated part of town, she feels the need to spread the word of the incident, she says. She immediately called the Pennsylvania Game Commission, who told her she lives in “bear country,” and it’s the time of year to be extra careful.
“I don’t care about the bear eating my bird seed — I’m concerned for everyone’s safety,” Ferraraccio said, adding that she lives just a few minutes from Oklahoma Elementary School and the Spider Lake Soccer Complex.
The PGC representative told her to go around and warn her neighbors about the bear and gave her some other tips. People shouldn’t put their garbage out until just before the truck comes, and the cans should always be very clean. Feeding stray cats, or any type of animal outside, will attract bears, she was told.
“Black bears will eat human food, garbage, bird feed, pet foods, fruits from trees or gardens and livestock feed,” the PGC says on its website. “They also raid cornfields and beehives. Once bears find easily accessible food sources, whether on a farm or in a housing development, they will keep coming back as long as food is available.”
The PGC also recommended soaking cloths in ammonia to clean outside grills.
Ferraraccio is distressed about the bears intruding on her bird-watching, she says, but she is just trying to warn others about bears in local areas.
“The best way to get rid of these unwanted visitors is to remove or secure food sources,” according to www.pgc.pa.gov. “A persistent bear may damage property, increase the risk of human injury, or become an unwanted visitor in other parts of the neighborhood.”
For more information on living with black bears in Pennsylvania, visit www.pgc.pa.gov.