News  Take precautions: Black bears are active and searching for food

If you have bird feeders or if you keep chickens, bee hives, or livestock, act now to keep bears wild and out of neighborhoods.
  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

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Media Contact, MassWildlife

Don't feed bears. Take down your bird feeders.

MassWildlife officials are reminding the public that March is when hungry bears emerge from their winter dens and seek out food. If you live in northern Middlesex County, Worcester County, western Massachusetts, or other areas where bears have been spotted, take these steps to prevent conflicts with black bears:

  1. Take down your bird feeders. Natural foods, such as acorns and other nuts, are usually available on the ground, but last year’s fall hard mast crop was meager. Bears will often ignore seasonally available natural foods, like skunk cabbage, in favor of an easy meal at a backyard bird feeder. Other species, including wild turkeys and coyotes, may also frequent bird feeders which can lead to more human-wildlife conflict. If you enjoy watching birds in your yard, MassWildlife suggests adding a water feature or growing native plants, shrubs, and trees to attract birds.  
  2. Secure other human-associated food sources on your property. Store garbage in closed containers in a garage or outbuilding and put it by the roadside the morning of pick up. Individuals should also secure bee hives, chickens, and livestock.  Coops and chicken wire provide inadequate protection from black bears. Properly installed and maintained electric fencing is the only way to protect chickens or bee hives from bears.
  3. Protect your pets. The presence of a dog could trigger a bear to be aggressive. Check your yard for bears before letting your dog outside. Keep dogs leashed when they’re outdoors and never let dogs chase or interact with bears. 

Black Bears in Massachusetts

Bear range map in Massachusetts

There are at least 4,500 black bears in Massachusetts and their range is expanding eastward. Take action by educating yourself and your neighbors about proactive measures to avoid conflicts with bears. For more information about black bears in Massachusetts, visit

Media Contact   for Take precautions: Black bears are active and searching for food

  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife 

    MassWildlife is responsible for the conservation of freshwater fish and wildlife in the Commonwealth, including endangered plants and animals. MassWildlife restores, protects, and manages land for wildlife to thrive and for people to enjoy.
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