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Boreal Community Media

Bird Seed in Bear Season: an essay by local author John Bragstad

Apr 18, 2023 08:19AM ● By Content Editor
Photo submitted

By local author and writer John Bragstad for Boreal Community Media - April 18, 2023

We’re told we must take our bird feeders down. It makes 
sense—bears may be on the prowl in mid-April. 

But sleet blew in the last weekend, and snow was soon to 
follow—quite a lot of it. And, for the juncos especially, it 
was bad timing. I see them in the crannies of our woods, 
sorting through snowbanks, looking for food. 

While winds have come up and flurries from the north come 
alive, juncos seem to be present everywhere. For many, ours
is a way station. Canada is their breeding home. 

To help them out, a couple of scrapes of snow from off my
deck and a handful or two of sunflower seeds to help them 
along their way. A couple more handfuls for the stragglers 
and opportunists below my porch. 

And all seems to be well. 

Warned we should not have our bird feeders out now but 
just a little slack in the system. I’ll dole it out carefully so 
seeds will be gone by evening.  

Will it make a difference? Their frantic eating and numbers 
tell me it will make a difference for them. 

Spring is a certainty to arrive, but in the meantime, we 
spread a bit of cheer outside our door.

Related: A sure sign of spring in Cook and Lake County: black bears coming out of hibernation

About the author

John A. Bragstad has been a therapist, working with couples and individuals, for 25 years. He is self-published and is enjoying retirement. Lake Superior is just off his front porch.

He has written three books: Compass Season, Loon Laughter at Midnight, and Who's Watching Whoo? They are available in Grand Marais at Drury Lane and Lake Superior Trading Post, or at

Meet your Boreal Community Media Freelance Journalist: John Bragstad

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