by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

Two Elk River residents have photos of a bear visiting Windsor Park Third on Friday, July 5.

A trail cam captured images of a bear by a bird feeder around 10 p.m. and a home security system got video of a bear strolling through another backyard at 10:41 p.m.

Ashley Welsh said they were out of town when their home security camera got the bear video. Welsh said the bear walked right past an above-ground pool, and she was surprised the pool’s pump didn’t scare it. The bear also pulled up some gladiolus plants in their yard.

Welsh has lived in Windsor Park Third for almost four years and has never seen a bear there before.

She said their home backs up to some woods and is not far from county roads 1 and 33. They don’t have any bird feeders and hadn’t left any food out that would have attracted the bear.

Welsh isn’t bothered by the bear sighting.

“It’s interesting,” she said. “We have a lot of wildlife coming through our backyard. It’s just rare to see a bear come up to your patio.”

The video is posted on the Elk River Police Department’s Facebook page.

Ron Olund, who also lives in Windsor Park Third, has the trail cam photos of a bear by his bird feeder. He posted them on NextDoor.

Olund said the trail cam captured images of the bear in his yard over about a 20-minute period, ending shortly after 10 p.m. July 5. Olund said he has lived in Windsor Park Third for about three years, and this was his first bear sighting.

He had suspected a bear was in his yard about a month ago. To bring some new bird species to his feeders he had tried a new mix containing dried fruit and nuts. He soon found his bird feeder had been knocked down, torn apart and emptied and the suet holder disappeared.

Olund put up a trail cam to try to find out what was visiting his feeders and stopped using the fruit and nut bird seed. He had no further visits until he tried a new suet variety pack, which contained different fruit blends. The bear visited after he put out an apple blend.

Olund said he has gone back to his old bird seed and suet and hopes that deters any future bear visits.

“I think he just smells the fruit and that’s what he’s after,” Olund said.

He’s not upset that a bear has been in his yard.

“It’s nature. That’s why we live out here,” he said.

The Elk River Police Department’s post said that bears are common throughout much of Minnesota, primarily in forested areas.

The police department post continued: “According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, when bears wander into residential areas odds are it is food they’re after. Garbage, pet food, gardens, fruit trees and bird feeders can draw a bear to a home or cabin. Keep in mind, once a bear finds food around your home they’re likely to return. If you encounter a bear, the DNR urges people to stay calm, back away slowly, and get indoors if possible.”

For more information on safely living among bears in Minnesota, the police department advises people to go to https://tinyurl.com/y4btmrl7.

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