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Bellingham bear was sitting on a chicken coop, but came away empty-handed

Black bear sniffs around this Bellingham area neighborhood

Bellingham Herald readers Bianca Gordon and Brian Boatman shared this video of a juvenile black bear snooping around a home on Academy Road just east of Bellingham, Washington on Friday, June 2, 2017.
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Bellingham Herald readers Bianca Gordon and Brian Boatman shared this video of a juvenile black bear snooping around a home on Academy Road just east of Bellingham, Washington on Friday, June 2, 2017.

Bellingham residents have reported a wide variety of wildlife sightings this week, including a black bear in the Silver Beach neighborhood and a bobcat roaming near Whatcom Falls Park.

Bianca Gordon captured video Friday morning of a juvenile black bear ambling down an outdoor stairway near Academy Road just east of Bellingham.

“It’s a crazy thing,” said Brian Boatman, Gordon’s father and owner of Beavers Tree Service. “We were having breakfast and looked out and (the bear) was sitting on top of the chicken coop. It’s been kind of hanging around up here.”

Alysha Elsby, manager of the Wildlife Center at the Whatcom Humane Society, said Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife agents are tracking the bear to try to remove it from the area.

“We do live in a very wooded habitat so it’s not uncommon when you see animals around, but it becomes a problem when you see them feeding on your garbage,” Elsby said.

Or pestering your backyard chickens.

Last month, several people reported a black bear on the Lummi Indian Reservation, and earlier this spring one was spotted near Blaine.

Several residents near Whatcom Falls Park have reported a bobcat – or maybe a lynx – roaming that neighborhood. Elsby said bobcats have been in the Whatcom Falls area for several years, but have not yet posed a direct danger to any humans.

“I’m not sure now if it was a lynx or a bobcat, but it was a surprising sight,” said Angela Marnovich, who saw the cat in her backyard – what she calls “the wildlife highway” between Whatcom Falls and Lake Padden. “It’s rather quite beautiful to be able to look through one’s picture window and see such nature. It’s quite a blessing.”

Last June, residents near Sudden Valley even spotted a cougar swimming in Lake Whatcom.

Residents can take steps to protect their property against wildlife, including keeping pet food indoors, securing or locking garbage bins, and taking down bird feeders, Elsby said. If you’re an urban chicken farmer, make sure your chicken coop is secured, too.

“Basically, it’s anything that would be inviting to a carnivore like that,” Elsby said.

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