SPD: Black Bear alert

A bear spotted in town prompted a warning to remove bird feeders and keep an eye on small pets.

Above: According to the state, Southborough is in the expanding range for black bears in Massachusetts (image edited from map on mass.gov)

The Southborough Police Department is issuing a warning after a Black Bear was spotted on in Southborough, ” in various locations on the South side of town (Hopkinton/Ashland border). 

It is hardly the first time, this has happened in town. The SPD is sharing its usual recommendations:

  • Be careful when letting small pets outside of your residence (monitor them).
  • We strongly recommend removing bird feeding systems (at least for the next few weeks).
  • Secure all trash receptacles around the outside of your property.

As always, please report any bear sightings to the Animal Control Officer, Jennifer Condon at (508) 485-7817; or the Environmental Police at (508) 366-6537.

They also shared on Facebook a link to learning more about black bears in our state.

The linked page on the state’s website discourages putting out bird feeders at any time of year. Instead it encourages residents who want to “support local songbirds” to grow native plants, shrubs, and trees and add a water feature to create a bird-friendly area.* You can learn more about that here.

*I’m sure that advice is music to the ears of volunteers involved in the Open Space Commission’s Native Plants – Native Pollinators initiative.

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Michael Weishan
30 days ago

Beth, as someone who just experienced a bear attack here, I can guarantee you that the bear by-passed the full bird feeder and headed straight for the bee hives. Planting “native” species is great, provided you can agree as to what we humans consider “native” to actually mean— something our current town boards/committees have failed to do—yet continue to falsely adjudicate. To put it bluntly: their lists are outdated, and some of their expressed opinions border on voodoo science.
(For the record: I speak as someone with 40-years of practical horticultural experience. I recall well when as Gardening Editor of Country Living Magazine about 2001 that this no-bird-feeder-biz was suddenly the rage, then totally refuted and now seemingly back. Where are the actual scientific studies/citations here to prove either side? And creating a “water feature” with recycled water doesn’t promote disease? This sounds like a lot of well intentioned people falling into an internet sound-bite echo-chamber…)
I would like to see the actual data citations, which our “state” sources also fail to include.
There is also the fact that many imported species (which are the majority in landscapes) are often hugely beneficial to many native species. We live in an environment entirely altered by human intervention. Just “planting natives” is not going to get us to where we need to go. As a town, we need to formulate an holistic approach that first and foremost acknowledges that the only true dogma in nature is that no human-conceived dogma in nature is EVER totally valid.
Then, maybe, we can make a start.

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