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      Caution: Birdfeeders might attract bears

      Hungry bears emerging from their winter hibernation are often attracted to bird feeders

      The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reminding Michigan residents that wildlife is returning as spring nears, and some uninvited guests might stop by.

      "At this time of year, bears are looking for food," said DNR bear and furbearer specialist, Adam Bump. "They are hungry after spending months in their dens, and while we might not think of birdfeeders and trash cans as food sources, a hungry bear certainly may."

      Wildlife officials say that birdseed is especially attractive to bears because of the high fat content and ease of accessibility. Once a birdfeeder is discovered, the bears will return until the seed is gone or the feeder has been removed.

      DNR officials say that the majority of reports they receive regarding bears occur because of food-related issues.

      "The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears in the spring involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to temporarily take in their birdfeeders and store other attractants, like grills, trash cans and pet food, in a garage or storage shed," Bump added.

      Bump continued to explain that once the woods green up, bears tend to move to find natural sources of food. The Department of Natural Resources warns that bears being rewarded with food can become habituated to these types of sources and can create an unsafe situation for landowners.