Video by Lisa Karnikolas and Deborah Drummey
Lisa Karanikolas says she refers to the backyard of her home in the town of Harvard as a "wild kingdom" because animals, such as fisher cats, deer, and coyotes often pass through. Today, however, was the first time she's seen a bear in her yard.
Karanikolas said she and her sister, Deborah Drummey, saw the black bear wandering around their property for nearly 25 minutes. The sighting came after another black bear was spotted Wednesday in Methuen, about 30 miles away.
The sisters, who live in a home on Glenview Drive, first saw the bear around 9:10 a.m.
"Deborah looked out the window from an upstairs bathroom and saw where the bird feeder hangs, there was a bear there," Karanikolas said. "She yelled down to me, 'There's a big black bear outside!'"
"My first thought was my cat, because one of my cats was outside," Karanikolas said. The sisters first called neighbors to warn them about going outside, and then contacted the Harvard police. Karanikolas said they were concerned about the neighbors, who own pets and enjoy walking and jogging along the street. After the calls were done, they began to shoot pictures and video.
"We watched from the windows as the bear was trying to get bird seed out of our bird feeder," Karanikolas said. "He sat for a while trying to get into it, but he didn't have much luck."
The bear then went over to a woodpile in the yard, where there was a suet bird hanger. Karanikolas watched as the bear, which she described as "big, furry, and black, with a brown snout," carried the hanger to the woods where it ate everything inside.
"Later in the day, I found the remnants in the woods," Karanikolas said. "Afterwards, he seemed to not be able to find more food, and just walked into the woods behind our backyard."
When the police arrived, they told the sisters that there were other sightings in the town of a black bear believed to be about one year old, Karanikolas said.
After the Methuen sighting, state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife biologist Jim Cardoza told the Globe that northeastern Massachusetts has been the site of more black bear sightings than usual recently.
"We see bears come into areas where there are bird feeders, and they go up to the porch to eat pet food left for pets," Cardoza said.
Karanikolas said she was shocked to see the bear, despite all the other wildlife they've seen in the yard.
"Now we can add black bear to our list of wild kingdom animals in our yard," Karanikolas said. "Hopefully, we won't be seeing him again anytime soon."
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