There have been some recent discussions on the Upper Valley bird list about
bird feeding and bear, specifically, in regards to the law about bear
feeding. This morning I was able to exchange emails with Mark Scott,
Director of Wildlife at the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Mark was
extremely helpful in clarifying the law and the departments suggestions in
regards to bird feeders.
Here is what I learned from Mark:
Is it illegal to feed birds in any season in Vermont?
No. People who feed birds and have a bear visiting their feeder will not be
cited with a wildlife violation unless they have been contacted by a state
game warden to remove their bird feeder or other planted unnatural food
source and fail to do so.
What are the suggested bird feeding periods from the VT Fish and Wildlife
The VFWD strongly recommends now that people stop feeding birds who live in
an area where bears are known to travel or are getting recent reports of
bears in the area they live. VFWD usually advise people to take the bird
feeders down from April through November. However in mild winters such as
we just encountered, some bears who don’t den or awaken from their den due
to warm weather or a disturbance, may be searching for food all winter.
Generally if we have six inches of snow on the ground, bears have a
difficult time finding wild foods and will den.
You can find more information on the VFWD "Living with Black Bears" web
I hope this information helps. We certainly do not want to create any
nuisance bears through bird feeding, so please do consider all the
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
PO Box 420 | Norwich, Vermont 05055