An East Aurora family has been on guard since a black bear discovered beehives with honey in their Porterville Road backyard July 4.
“We had a bonfire last night, and I was a little nervous,” said Amanda Rice Saturday.
Her Porterville Road neighborhood is near Route 400, a stretch of highway where a bear was spotted running a few months ago.
Their yard, it turns out, has the right ingredients to attract bears: honey and berries.
For years, a friend and beekeeper has kept hives stacked in boxes on a platform in their yard.
Then on July 4th afternoon, as Rice’s family lounged in their screened back porch, a bear finally tuned in.
“I screamed, ‘There’s a black bear,’” said Jennifer McCormick, Rice’s daughter, giving her account of the holiday visit.
She had her camera in hand, intending to photograph her mother’s clematis flowers. Instead, she captured a few shots of the bear that seemed to be 200 pounds. It shot out from near a patch of raspberry bushes by the side of the house.
The bear approached the hives, where the family’s beekeeping friend had just harvested honey. Some of the sweetness was still clinging to a hive’s drawers.
Within a few minutes the bear’s appearance, it was gone, down side streets and into some nearby woods.
“I don’t even think I scared him,” McCormick said.
“He was running around all the back corner by the berries, by the honey,” she said. “It was looking like he was playing, but had nobody to play with.”
The village police get two or three bear calls a year, according to East Aurora Patrolman Robert Braeuner. A couple months ago, a bear was seen running across Route 400.
More bears seem to be roaming the Southern Tier, taking cover in patches of forest that once was open farmland.
“They generally don’t want anything to do with people,” Braeuner said.
Officers don’t come out for bears unless they become a nuisance. The right approach, he said, is to do as the Rice family did and stay inside until the bear leaves.
“That’s the best thing to do,” he said.