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Courtesy photo

Amherst resident Bill Swift photographed the three bears that visited his backyard Friday in search of bird-feeder scraps.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Seeking snacks, bears visit Amherst home

AMHERST – Goldilocks was no where to be found, but three bears certainly made themselves welcome in Bill Swift’s Amherst backyard Friday.

According to Swift, who submitted a photo of the bears in his backyard, it wasn’t porridge the bears were after, but leftovers from the bird and suet feeders demolished presumably by the same bears the previous week.

“This week they went home empty handed, but it was still an enjoyable family outing,” Swift joked about the bears’ visit. He said the bears also showed up last year, when “I made the mistake of sprinkling cracked corn around the yard for the wild turkeys.”

The corn instead attracted the bears who hung around for three days, Swift said.

“We were hostages in our own house,” he said.

As for putting out the corn?

“Not recommended,” Swift said.

State wildlife officials warn residents, even in populated areas, to be wary of wild visitors like bears, especially if there are a lot of bird feeders and such around the yard. Never approach wild animals, or do anything to rile them or get their attention.

The best thing to do is get inside the house, garage, vehicle or other secure structure and wait them out.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or