Like many residents of the western Maryland mountains, we have occasional black bears in our neighborhood. One night this past fall, a bear got into our backyard by prying up the bottom of our chain-link fence and shinnying beneath. It helped itself to all the birdseed it could find before moving on -- fortunately, well before we woke up and let out the dogs. We stopped putting out birdseed for a couple of weeks after that.
Now, according to The Associated Press, the state Department of Natural Resources proposes to fine folks $250 for leaving out birdseed, garbage, or any other potential bear snacks once the state has warned them not to.
I suspect the DNR's intention is not actually to limit bear-human conflicts, but simply to raise money to supplement its dwindling revenue from hunting licenses. In any case, if it expects to eliminate the backyard feeder from western Maryland, it'll have a fight on its hands from the likes of Sydney and me. We love bears, but we love birds, too.