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Hot, dry weather forcing bears to look for new food sources — in neighborhoods

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WOODINVILLE, Wash. -- The hot, dry weather is pushing bears into neighborhoods; one bear was caught strolling through a Woodinville backyard twice in two days.

It’s happening in the Bear Creek community near NE 156th Street.

“I was making coffee in the kitchen,” said homeowner Jennifer Beeler, ”I looked out and it was just standing there staring at me.”

Beeler locked eyes with the bear looking for food in her backyard.

“I immediately grabbed my camera and went to my bigger window and started filming,” she said. “You can see him walking up the back of the hill and then he turns around when he hears us excitedly filming him.”

But this wasn’t the first time this bear searched her property for breakfast – cameras caught him walking through her yard the day before, too.

Beeler knows her neighborhood is prime bear country; that’s why she secures her trash and removes any sources of food.

“I worry about my kid because he plays out here,” said neighbor Ann Stearns. “I’m concerned about him (the bear) walking in my house because he’s getting so comfortable around people.”

Stearns has a different problem than Beeler, it’s her juicy plum trees that are ripe and prime for bears.

“Trying to give away as many plums as I can right now,” she said.

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife recorded more than 430 bear sightings so far this year. Officials said the bears’ food sources are shriveling and dying in the unseasonably hot weather, and the bears are now on the hunt for new things to eat.

For Beeler’s family, that just means keeping a close watch and remembering her neighborhood encroaches on the bears’ territory.

“We have bobcats, coyotes, cougars, so there’s a lot to be weary of,” Beeler said. “But we also moved out here knowing it would be full of wildlife.”

Bears don’t stop at trashcans, they also like birdfeeders, pet food and even BBQ grills. If you don’t want one visiting your yard, make sure it’s free of food sources.

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4 comments

  • KateBMyers

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  • Eric J

    The map is wrong – Bear Creek area is east of the Sammamish River valley, towards Cottage Lake. And yes, we do have bears roaming around there lately. I live just off of 165th near Basset Pond and while I haven’t seen them myself, my neighbors have reporting many bear sightings recently.