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Squamish woman startled by black bear in window

The woman turned on her vacuum cleaner to scare off the bear. The incident is a good reminder to put away bird feeders, she says.

It's a lesson Squamish’s Julie Murakami won’t have to be taught twice. On March 20, the Garibaldi Estates resident looked up to see the face of a black bear in her kitchen window.

It was destroying her bird feeder. 

This serves as a good reminder for other homeowners to take down and put away their bird feeders, she said. 

Murakami says she “stupidly forgot" to remove hers. 

“We were eating dinner when this happened,” she told The Squamish Chief. 

She scared him off by turning the vacuum cleaner on.

“We remembered that unnatural mechanical sounds are best for scaring off bears,” she said. “He left muddy paw prints on our kitchen window, so we are so lucky he didn’t break the window.” 

Indeed. 

And what a nose, both figuratively and literally. 

“They do have an incredible sense of smell,” Vanessa Isnardy of WildSafeBC told The Squamish Chief. “They say it is more powerful than a bloodhound.” 

Isnardy concurred with Murakami that it is a good idea to put bird feeders away.

She sent along two photos of the organization’s black bear replica skulls to show the power of black bears' noses. 

“In a real skull, you can see more of the delicate honeycomb shape inside. This increases the surface area so that more olfactory senses can be packed in," she said.

Black bears account for 14,000 to 25,000 calls per year to the Conservation Officer Service (COS), according to WildSafeBC.

Aggressive bears or ones spotted in urban areas should be reported to the COS (1-877-952-7277).

Bears are most active April through November, but in milder climates, especially when easy food sources are easily available, they can be spotted year-round.

For more on black bears, go to the WildSafeBC website.

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