A black bear has been reported wandering around the city of Woodbury.
Woodbury Public Safety on Tuesday said it's aware of "several bear sightings," noting the animal has not been aggressive but has been interested in deer and bird feeders in residential areas.
According to the Minnesota DNR's bear sightings map, there have been eight bear sightings in the month of April in Woodbury: two bears were spotted in one sighting on April 17 near Bielenberg Drive; there were two separate sightings of one bear on April 25; as well as sightings of a single bear on April 9, April 21, April 22 and April 24.
One neighbor captured video of a bear wandering through their yard and shared it with WCCO:
The bear has mostly been spotted in the area of the Evergreen neighborhood, with Woodbury Public Safety noting it has been seen as far east as Interlachen Parkway and as far west as Bielenberg Drive, but has stayed north of Valley Creek Road.
This bear hasn't caused any trouble, and the DNR doesn't trap or remove a bear based on sightings and non-aggressive behavior, Woodbury Public Safety notes.
Residents are asked to be patient as the bear moves on to find natural food sources. In the meantime, officials are recommending people who live in the area to remove their bird feeders (at least at night) until the bear moves on. Woodbury Public Safety also notes there is a DNR-imposed deer feeding ban in Washington County.
Scott Noland of the DNR told Bring Me The News they've gotten reports of bird feeder damage due to the bear knocking them over or breaking the container holding the bird seen. Other reports are from people who want to make sure the DNR is aware there's a bear.
“The minute I saw my birdfeeder, yep, it was a bear," Trudy Cowman told WCCO, noting she now takes her bird feeders in every night. “One of the poles was bent to almost a 90-degree angle. And he had to have been very full when he got done with all my birdseed."
Bears in central Minnesota have likely emerged from hibernation due to the early spring weather and are looking for alternative food sources as natural foods like berries and green vegetation are not as readily available, Noland said.
"This is why we recommend residents to remove any potential attractants from their yards to assist in the bear moving on. Bears will not remain in an area if there is no food," he added.
The DNR in a March 22 news release encouraged home and cabin owners to remove or secure things that could attract bears, like birdseed, garbage, livestock feed and compost, to reduce a potential conflict with the bear.
“To avoid season-long problems, take the time now to remove or secure anything that could attract a bear,” Eric Nelson, wildlife damage program supervisor for the DNR, said in a statement. “Prevention is key. Once a bear finds a food source, it will likely return.”
Black bears, which are the only type of bear in Minnesota, are more common in forested areas of northern Minnesota but can live anywhere in the state if they find a suitable habitat.
"We do receive bear reports in Anoka and Washington County each year. It’s not a large number of bears, but a few move through the area," Noland said.
Noland told WCCO people are noticing bears more thanks to the increase in cameras on people's homes.
The Minnesota DNR's website has more information on bears and preventing conflicts with them here.