REDMOND, Wash. — Most people living in the Pacific Northwest are used to seeing wildlife, but a Redmond man had an encounter a little too close for comfort over the Memorial Day weekend when an unwelcomed guest stopped by.
“I literally pulled the curtain away and his face was right in mine, about a foot away,” Scott Kankelborg said. “I haven’t even been that close to a bear in a zoo.”
The young bear wasn’t skittish or shy. Surveillance video showed the bear dragging a container to use as a stepping stool to reach a bird feeder.
“I tapped on the glass; he didn’t even seem to care. I turned on the porch light, didn’t faze him,” Kankelborg said. “Tried to blast an air horn [and] he did not care. He was hungry.”
After moving the container and helping itself to the bird feeder, the bear decided to walk just off camera and take a nap right outside Kankelborg’s bedroom window.
Seems scary that a hungry bear isn’t deterred by an air horn, but Sgt. Kim Chandler of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said the bear’s behavior isn’t abnormal.
“Ah yes, the hungry youngster,” Chandler said.
The WDFW said the bear’s behavior is perfectly normal for this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we have to live with it.
“Homeowners have to take a certain amount of responsibility to keep these bears away from those food sources, and that includes bird feeders,” Chandler said.
A different video sent to KING 5 over the weekend shows another bear in Redmond eating from a trash can and making a mess.
“These bears have to know that this is not acceptable behavior for them. Anything that you can do to scare them off to make sure that they are not welcome there,” Chandler said.
It’s a lesson that Kankelborg has learned. Since his close encounter, he’s taken down the bird feeder along with anything that may seem tasty to a hungry bear. The hope is that eventually this bear will get the message and look for food somewhere else.