Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bruno the Bear comes calling at a neighbor's

So we city folk visiting the shore of Lake Superior feel besieged by skunks that haven't yet fired their howitzers, by deer that vandalize our bird feeders, by bears that leave tracks on the beach. That's chump change compared to what happened to a neighbor of ours, a native Upper Michigander, the other night.

She writes in an e-mail:

"I went up to bed last night and after a bit realized I'd not closed one of the sliding doors on the deck. Since it's been cool at night and our bird's cage is right there, I went down and shut the door. Not an hour later I heard a heck of a ruckus, so went back downstairs to investigate. I had my hand on the doorknob to look out when it dawned on me that the motion light was on."

Instead of going out, she continued, she looked out the window and saw that her husband's humongous "Tim Allen arrh arrh arrh Man Grill" was tipped over on the deck. "I can hardly roll this thing," she said. "Forget about tipping it!"

She continued:

"I flipped the deck lights on to discover my concrete bird bath in a pile of pieces, a custom-made wrought-iron heavy-duty shepherd's hook and a store-bought one, both mounted on the deck, bent toward the ground like licorice whips. The bird feeders that had been hanging from them were gone. Another feeder that was screwed to the deck rail was also gone.

"The deck where the shepherd's hooks were is at least four feet off the ground. To reach up, pull those hooks over and bend them required one honking size bear."

The next morning she also discovered trampled shrubbery and claw marks on the deck railing.

"I find this odd," she continued, for "last week when there was a bear in the yard, the bird sent up a warning call. Last night Bruno was on the deck, on the other side of the glass from her, and not a sound. Was she scared stiff?

"What if I hadn't slid that door shut? Would he have come through the screen? The bird cage is right there, complete with a smorgasbord of tasty nuts, fruits and seeds. It hasn't bothered me to have bears in the yard, but tromping around on the deck? I can't tell you how often we've slept with those doors open. Not anymore!"

Suddenly hungry deer and small skunks that mind their own business don't seem like such a hazard in this neck of the woods.

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