You like feeding the birds. They are enjoyable to watch and listen to. However, that can lead to bears setting up camp in your yard. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials say bears will keep coming back to an easy food source such as a bird feeder, especially if you keep it fully stocked.

DNR wildlife officials are fielding nearly 900 complaints about bears each year, a slight increase over the last decade. Many of the homeowner reports are that bears have damaged their bird feeders or dug through their trash cans.

Officials say the easiest solution is to take in the bird feeder in the late afternoon. They caution people that it could take a bear a few days to move on to another area to find food. The DNR stopped relocating bears in 1999, according to a news release issued June 25, "The DNR discontinued the practice of trapping and relocating bears is 1999, and relies instead on the public removing attractants."

They further stated, "It is nearly impossible to find a release site in Minnesota where a food-conditioned, traveling bear wouldn't find another house to frequent." The DNR also reports that a mother bear might pass along this feeding behavior to its offspring and that bears can become quite bold. "Some have been know to open unlocked car doors, enter open windows and patio doors of homes, push through screen door, enter livestock pens...anywhere food is left unattended."

Bear stories have been fairly prevalent lately.