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Bear sightings are on the rise in Williamstown

Black bear walking across road near house

A juvenile black bear walks through the front yard of a home on Frenier Avenue in Williamstown.

WILLIAMSTOWN — The Williamstown Police have reported an uptick of bear sightings in northern Berkshire county.

The department alerted residents in a social media post on Thursday.

“We would like to remind people that bears are wild animals, and are simply looking for food,” the post read. “This time of year easy sources of food such as trash cans, compost piles and bird feeders draw them into populated areas. Please keep this in mind if you are seeing them on your property repeatedly and think about ways to keep these items from attracting them for the safety of your family and the community at large.”

Animals with young offspring can be especially protective, the post read, and in these instances it’s important to give the animal space so that they will remain calm and will move along that much faster.

MassWildlife suggests if residents use bird feeders during the winter months that they should cease filling them and bring them indoors by the end of March or early April, around the time when hibernating animals become active.

“Bears will often ignore seasonally available natural foods including skunk cabbage in favor of an easy meal at a backyard bird feeder,” MassWildlife says.

According to Eagle Outdoor columnist Gene Chague, there are “at least 4,500 black bears in Massachusetts, with approximately 2,000 of them living here in the Berkshires, and their range is expanding eastward.”

The police noted that there is no need to call to report a bear seen in the area unless it is causing harm or damage.

“If left alone, most bears will meander along on their way.”

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