This is mama bear coming through last week with her 3 cubs up in a tree behind her.
Separately from her we have 2 young males occasionally meander through.
When we were first realizing we had bear friends we noticed mama bear is super gentle with the feeders and the males bent and destroyed it all like a couple of drunken hooligans.
We have been feeding the birds mostly only when we are home and taking the feeders in at night. That's been working out for a while now.
Personally, I don't have an issue with the bears. I love watching them and it makes my day when they make an appearance. The strict routine of not encouraging them to eat here is only for them to not get acclimated to people. I know things can happen but the likelihood of an altercation with us is slim to none, especially when you are respectful of the animal and its space. In the end it's all about responsibility and respect. These bears are just trying to make it and your front yard happens to be their backyard. The line of who should be shooing who away, for me, is quite blurry.
I also won't be taking my pups out front unleashed and we check the dog yard every time before the pups go out. There was a dog attacked by a bear near us so this is something I definitely have in my awareness. I do have to say a lot of people around us have dogs that live outside and aren't confined (which drives me crazy but that's a whole other subject) and I'm not sure of specifics on the story. Mama bear will swipe a dog away from her cubs and I don't think anyone can really blame her.
So for the number of people who have expressed concern to me and my bear photos: no, I am not feeding her, but as of now yes, she is welcome in my yard and woods.
Mostly I am just worried about her and her cubs being harmed because of incompatibility with humans and I'm doing my best not to contribute to that.
That's how I feel about that :)
Lay on my deck to get this shot through the pickets but she saw me way before I knew she saw me 🐻