That birdseed hanging outside of your home may attract more than a cardinal or robin, and that goes for trash cans, too, as hungry black bears have become increasingly active and are looking for an easy lunch in the area.
Bethlehem police have issued a warning to area homeowners: Keep your garbage contained and take down the birdseed.
The Bethlehem Police Department's Animal Control Officers have recently received reports of bear sightings in the southern end of town, according Lt. Thomas Heffernan.
We've gotten calls about sightings on Elm Street, Old Quarry Road, and Curry Avenue in the southern parts of town, Heffernan said.
Springtime is not a time for birdseed, Heffernan reiterated.
"I think a lot of people think the opposite. They say, 'It's springtime,' and put out bird seed."
In a release, the police department listed ways to keep bears from lingering: "Proper storage of garbage and the removal of bird feeders during periods when bears are active are the two most important steps you can take to drastically reduce nuisance bear problems in your area. Birdseed and garbage are favorite foods for bears. In many case, bears will choose them instead of natural food sources."
The following steps can be taken to prevent bear problems in addition to maintaining safety:
Store garbage in cans or other receptacles and keep them in a secure place like in the garage.
Put garbage out only on the morning of pickup. Burning and composting of garbage may attract bears.
Feed birds only from Dec. 1 until March 1. During the rest of the year, you may be attracting more bears than birds.
If a bear is spotted, remain calm and do not panic, because "bears are more likely to be afraid of you than you are of them." Never approach, surround or attempt to touch a bear.