Bird-Feeder Thief

Status: Real
Thanks to Peter Wenker for sending along these pictures of a bird-feeder thief. Though I don't have any details about where or when they were taken, there's no doubt in my mind that they're real, since bears are notorious bird-feeder thieves. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department even has instructions on their website titled "Don't Let your Bird Feeder Become a Bear Feeder!" Their recommendations include: "Stop all bird feeding by April 1, or as soon as snow melts;" and, "Clean up any spilled birdseed and dispose of it in the trash."

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Animals Photos

Posted on Thu Mar 23, 2006


Could that rope hold that bear? Nah.
Posted by Baljeet Burns  on  Thu Mar 23, 2006  at  08:04 PM
I'd rather have a bear feeder than a bird feeder any day!
Posted by outeast  on  Fri Mar 24, 2006  at  06:28 AM
what is the grey stuff in pictures 2 and 4? it seems to be where the rope ends. looks fake
Posted by buba  on  Fri Mar 24, 2006  at  09:52 AM
You can clearly see the rope continuing on the right side of picture 2. I'm not sure what the gray is, but they might be reflections on a window if these pictures were taken from indoors.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Fri Mar 24, 2006  at  10:16 AM
The gray thing looks to be a circular piece of material, perhaps plastic or metal. It's not a reflection on the window, because it's behind the leaves. My guess would be that it's something on the line intended to block squirrels (and bears?) from climbing along the line to the feeder. That sort of thing is common enough. It's only visible in those two pictures because those two pictures are the only ones taken from that particular angle.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Fri Mar 24, 2006  at  11:25 AM
These pictures were taken by a friend of a friend of a coworker of my daughters in Sudbury, Ontario (I'm not making this up).

Last summer my daughter worked for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (or as we like to call them the Ministry of No Results) and someone in their Sudbury office emailed these photos with a note that a friend had taken them in their back yard.

Yes, that is a squirrel cone hiding in the leaves. They are supposed to deter the squirrels from raiding your bird feeders but they don't work worth shit. The best deterrent against squirrels is a small bear.
Posted by Blondin  on  Fri Mar 24, 2006  at  11:43 AM
This was an email forward I received from a friend; no additional details available on my end (not through lack of trying!).

That must be some damn good bird feed.
Posted by Peter Wenker  on  Fri Mar 24, 2006  at  12:05 PM
Stop feeding by April 1, indeed.
Posted by Big Gary in Tool, Texas  on  Fri Mar 24, 2006  at  04:52 PM
> Could that rope hold that bear? Nah.

Tensile strength of a 3/16 plastic rope is something like 1300 lbs. The biggest black bears are in the 800 lb range.
Posted by Travis Finucane  on  Fri Mar 24, 2006  at  05:38 PM
Fake! Now is Alex trying to pull a prank on people too, or does he actually believe that? I *think* the former.

Bears are notorious bird feeder theives... a bear climbing around like a squirrel... stop feeding the birds by April Fool's Day. Suuuurrre.
Posted by Reynard Muldrake  on  Fri Mar 24, 2006  at  10:28 PM
From my rock climbing days...

In a scenario where a climber falls and is caught by a rope, the impact on the rope is a function not only of the rope's composition and the weight applied, but also of the ratio of the rope played out vs. the distance of the fall.

For instance, if the lead climber has 100 feet of rope played out, and is standing 5' above an anchor and falls, he falls a total of 10 feet before he's caught. Ratio of rope length vs. distance of fall is 10/100 or 1:10.

The worst-case scenario occurs when the lead climber starts from a belay station partway up the rock face, and falls before anchoring the rope. Let's say he climbs 10' and falls; the total distance of the fall is 20'. The ratio is 20'/10' or 2:1

The idea is: in the 2:1 scenario the impact of the fall was spread out over a much shorter length of rope so it's hard on the rope. In the 1:10 scenario the fall is spread out over so much rope that it's not impacted much.

In this bear scenario I think it matters what the rope is anchored to. Sort of like a fishing pole: the fact that it bends allows you to land a fish that may be substantially heavier than the rating of the fishing line.

I could clean this up but I gotta go...
Posted by Peter Wenker  on  Sat Mar 25, 2006  at  06:17 PM
These are not recent photos - if that makes any difference. I first saw them more than a year ago. I doubted them at the time and I still do. One reason that I have doubts is that I've gotten two different versions. One said that it took place in the NE part of the US, the other said somewhere in Canada. Of course, I could be wrong about their authenticity, since I don't live in bear country. But nevertheless, altered photos or not, they are certainly entertaining.
Posted by Janie  on  Wed Apr 26, 2006  at  11:49 AM
You gullable morons - this is fake! Even outside of the obvious blunders of physics. There are numerous picture differences and touch up mistakes especially on the first picture with the tree where you can clearly see the bear fur where the tree should be at 3:00.

The picture will not sit right as well with your thought processes. That is your subconscious telling you- it is fake, that it does not mesh and creates conflict with your understanding of previous pictures of the same and real life. You will get the same feeling if you see a bear leaping from rock to rock over a stream using only hind feet.
Posted by Antone  on  Thu Feb 15, 2007  at  07:06 AM
To Antone:

You wrote: can clearly see the bear fur where the tree should be at 3:00.

Here's the reality:

Look again. The bear has just climbed up that tree. He's got his left hind leg still sorta wrapped around the tree - for balance. That's why you see fur "where the tree should be". It's probably the bear's knee - or his hip. I'm not familiar w/bear anatomy.
Posted by Janie  on  Thu Feb 15, 2007  at  09:25 AM
Don't want to spoil so much national fun .... but .... :o)

What I find "interesting" is the branch in photo 2, 3, and 4, but no branch in photo 1.

That thin rope would have to be tied pretty tight to bear the weight of a bear that size and not bend between the trees more than it is in the images (note I say images and not photos ;o).

My feeling on the branch is that the touch-up artist got tired of trying to manipulate the image of the rope and decided to put a branch there instead but couldn't do that in the first one or you would have seen no bear precariously hanging on the tree in the first image.

I think any bear, smarter than the average bear of course, could find an easier way to get some bird seed.

And that looks more like a bird house to me anyway.
Posted by chris  on  Tue Apr 24, 2007  at  09:04 AM
Well, I found these pics because I was doing research on bears stealing bird feeders, because when I woke up yesterday, three feeders in my yard were gone, and my chicken coop had been raided for food, but the food dish, attached by a bungee cord, must have sling-shotted back into the coop.

Now, one of these feeders was on an aluminum post, which was broken off at the base support and dragged about a hundred feet into the woods, pole, squirrel baffle, and all, and smashed against a tree. A second hanging feeder was yanked from it's rope, taken into the woods again, and likewise smashed on a tree. The third feeder was pulled down from a height of about seven feet, branch and all, but apparently bears don't like nyjer seed, because that feeder was left on the ground, still full.

My point from this is that I don't think the bear in the pictures is going to extreme measures at all. That is definitely a bird feeder, and a good -sized one, meaning a large quantity of food. The bear probably actually enjoyed the adventure.
Posted by Bellicose  on  Wed May 30, 2007  at  11:22 PM
Ok, so after some reading, the rope can hold the weight of a bear without breaking. Would it not still stretch much further to the ground? In the first photo, what is supporting the bear on the far side of the tree? There are no branches below, and the branches above seem to be tiny. In the subsequent photos we have changed angles, 180 degrees it appears, so the bear has also changed sides. That's fine, no problem with that. My problem then becomes the bears teeth and claws on the rope without it shredding. Let's say the bear was able to prevent that somehow, why is the bear five shades brighter than his surroundings? Also, why is there no visible wrinkling of his jowls around the rope in photo 2? In all photos the bear's back appears to be photoshop material where it meets the green background. Lastly, note the pole beneath the bear in photo 4. If the bear falls he will impale himself and die. That point does not refute authenticity, I just found it interesting. These photos do not seem real at all.
Posted by Captain Dude  on  Wed Jul 04, 2007  at  10:02 AM
These pictures were taken in Sudbury, Ontario (Canada) in June, 2005 by my brother Erik. I know there is some controversy over the photos, but they are real and my bro has 20 different ones that have never been circulated on the interenet all in high resolution (10 MP). That is the real story.
Posted by Dave  on  Mon Jul 23, 2007  at  02:39 PM
Why did your brother use Adobe Photoshop? When you open the pictures in a HEX editor you can plainly see that Photoshop was used and that the picture was layered. What is the layering for if not for the bogus junk it appears to be? Lastly, in photo 2 why is the Bear's butt completely flat?
Posted by Captain Dude  on  Mon Jul 23, 2007  at  02:47 PM

Could we hear from your brother to confirm that?
Posted by drmeow  on  Tue Jul 24, 2007  at  08:04 PM
I've included a URL, hopefully it is easy enough to follow, but just in case:

Back on April 4th of 2007, I laborously researched this, and and emailed whoever it was that posted it. I'm disappointed that the status hasn't been changed at least to reflect some ambiguity. I am happy to notice that many of my arguments have been used since I did the research.

I'd like to hear from Dave's brother Erik, though. I wouldn't mind being convinced. : )
Posted by Nic  on  Fri Jul 27, 2007  at  05:36 AM
I must comment on these photos. They are infact real pictures and not altered ones they were taken here in Juneau, Alaska by a friend of my parents. Amazing that they have been around so much and the stories that have followed.
Posted by Amy  on  Fri Sep 07, 2007  at  01:04 PM
Nice job by Nic also discovering the photos were edited using Photoshop. Poor attempt by several posters in between to say they are real. I think it's fine if others want to believe this but don't try to convince those of us that enjoy engineering and investigation.
Posted by Captain Dude  on  Fri Sep 07, 2007  at  01:20 PM
OK so this Nic is full of S***. I have been to the house where these were taken and know the woman who took them. They ARE real!
Posted by Amy  on  Fri Sep 07, 2007  at  01:39 PM
So, now we just get swearing and no more proof? Why did the photographer use Photoshop? Where is the photographer? Why is it always, a "friend of someone I know" scenario? I don't see what about Nic's argument appears to be incorrect.
Posted by Captain Dude  on  Fri Sep 07, 2007  at  02:00 PM



Posted by JANIE  on  Mon Sep 10, 2007  at  01:04 PM
Ok, instead of offering "proof" that these are fakes by noting that they have been edited in an image editor, why don't you all find some proof that these are fakes by finding the original pictures this bear came from. Somewhere out there, if these are indeed fakes, will be pictures of a bear climbing, hanging from, and chewing on something, correct? Find the pics this bear was cut from, then you'll have proof.

I am a photographer, film and digital, and I edit many of my photos in Photoshop, Fireworks, IrfanView, and others. The fact that the file was "Edited in PhotoShop" means nothing. What if it was a film photo, and they scanned it using PhotoShop? What if they have a PC-based photo album? There are many reasons why these images could have been opened in Elements, and the person who made this claim on that other website himself stated that he could find no pixel-based editing in the images. He beats his own argument.

Maybe they were cropped to reduce file size? Enlarged? These are all -edits-, and ones that no one would find fishy.

Why would anyone bother to fake this, anyway? It's no shark-jumping-up-and-biting-a-helicopter...
Posted by Bellicose  on  Tue Sep 11, 2007  at  02:51 PM
Well, If you are going to make a spectacular claim then you need to be able to prove it. Secondly, why can't anyone name the photographer? Additionally, people like to make stuff up, that's why they would fake it. Lastly, it just looks fake.
Posted by Captain Dude  on  Tue Sep 11, 2007  at  08:24 PM
If you've had a bear come into your yard and destroy your bird feeders, it's not a spectacular claim. I have had three feeders and two poles dragged off into the woods and destroyed by bear(s). Not quite as spiffy as climbing a rope, but the circus bears can do it, so I'd imagine a hungry wild bear could.

Second, for the last century, photographs WERE proof. So if this is a person, say, in their 30's or older, he would consider the picture proof.

And why do we not know who the photographer is? This is the Internet. A 60-year-old man could have sent the picture to his grandson, who thought it was cool enough to forward to his friends, who then posted it somewhere. That original guy, who MIGHT sell his old toys on eBay or something, has no idea we exist, nor does he care enough to search for it, because he saw it and took the pictures.

I feel sorry for you people growing up in the fledgling Internet generation, because you assume the worst of people. Speaking as someone who does graphics work, this picture would require so much time and effort, and be viewed by such a small audience, that faking would be pointless.

"Haha, I'm going to pull one over on the birding community! This will be legendary! A bear eating bird seed!"

We have spent more time debating the authenticity of these photos than the original photographer spent telling the story of the bear eating his seed.
Posted by Bellicose  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  03:50 AM
You feel sorry for me? Feel sorry for yourself that you need to be so judgmental when someone's opinions doesn't match your own. I am not saying there is anything wrong with believing what you are seeing, merely stating why I don't believe it. You have no idea how old I am or anything about me for that matter. I am not a young person and do not assume the worst about anyone, I am a forensic analyst and computer crime investigator and can spot fakes fairly quickly. For example this was easy since, in this very thread, three different people from two different places claim the ability to authenticate two separate stories. As for motive, I have no idea why someone would do this and do not care, I don't have to establish that. Best guess would be some kid did it to show his/her friends what they were capable of and the friends started the hoax. Innocuous for sure.

If you really do graphics work, then you know this would not require that much time or effort to perform a little photochopping for your friends. It's a simple layering of two separate pictures.
Posted by Captain Dude  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  07:24 AM
"Captain Dude"... the "forensic analyst and computer crime investigator"... says we should believe him because, well, he's "Captain Dude" "forensic analyst" and because three people in this thread claim to be able to authenticate this story from two different places. What kind of forensic work and crime fighting is *that*? Like Bellicose, I also spend a lot of time manipulating images in graphic design. Bellicose is right, there would be way too much work involved in this to manipulate four color photos like that. And for what? It's an amusing series of photos but not spectacular. "Captain Dude" has obviously never done any photo manipulation. This would not be a "simple layering of two separate pictures."

There has been discussion about the weight of the bear on the rope. Since I don't see any scales or anything to scale the bear other than the feeder, I have no idea just how big the bear is. It could be a juvenile.

It appears to me that the first image was shot from a different angle than photos 2-4 which is why the tree in the first frame, from which the bear is launching itself onto the rope, is out of the frame. The photographer appears to have moved left and lower below the feeder. The branches and leaves we see on the left in the first photo are moved over to the right side and above the photographer in photos 2-4. I agree, also, with what Bellicose says about editing... anything could be the reason. In addition to re-sizing, the photographer (or someone else) could have lightened the images. It doesn't make them fake.

For the person who thinks this looks like a bird house rather than a feeder... you obviously aren't into feeding birds.
Posted by skeptic  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  08:05 PM
"...because three people in this thread claim to be able to authenticate this story from two different places. What kind of forensic work and crime fighting is *that*?" It means there is no consistency from the people claiming that this is real. That's called corroboration. Also if three people all say it's true but all three stories are different,locations/photographer, how can any one of those stories be true?
Posted by Captain Dude  on  Tue Jul 14, 2009  at  06:01 AM
"Also if three people all say it's true but all three stories are different,locations/photographer, how can any one of those stories be true?"

You're kidding, right?

Think about it. It's really not that difficult. Put those "crime fighting skills" you claim to have to work and figure it out.
Posted by skeptic  on  Sat Jul 18, 2009  at  01:48 AM
I'm not kidding, instead of chiding, just tell us.
Posted by Captain Dude  on  Sat Jul 18, 2009  at  04:43 AM
nice pictures...I love birds...las year I saw one in a park on germany, it was so beautifull but I dont understand the real meaning of the post.
Somebody can explain me?
Posted by pene  on  Wed Jul 29, 2009  at  03:20 AM
This is real. I know the person that took these pictures. There from his back yard.
Posted by Ildiko  on  Mon May 17, 2010  at  12:51 PM
What I don't understand is if someone knows where these photos were taken and by whom, why don't they tell us that real location and the name of the person who did it? It reads like just a bunch of baloney.
Posted by JE4115  on  Fri Jul 16, 2010  at  09:37 PM
I believe this to be a hoax and the passing around of the e-mail has been said to be in Canada, Alaska, New Hampshire and probably more...

And I have to agree with what one person said about the bears bottom in one of the photos being flat when if he were reallly hanging it would have been rounder and the hair would have been fluffy, not flat.
Posted by I call BS  on  Sat Nov 06, 2010  at  01:44 PM
Stop saying you know who took it and blah, blah, blah cuz none of you STORIES match! Durrrrrrrrr. The more you say it the more ignorant you look and the more it looks like you are making a stab that be believe they are real as if we would say "Oh, okay, this person in WI, or this guy in Canada, or this guy in Alaska knows the photog. so it HAS TO BE real."
ha hahahahhahahahahaha, Um, NO.
Posted by And yeah...  on  Sat Nov 06, 2010  at  01:54 PM
I realize that I'm late to the conversation, but this thread has entertained my thoroughly, and I just had to post.

I'm Erik. Dave's brother. You know the guy who posted in July 2007? What he said is true.

Why haven't I joined the thread earlier? Honestly, I haven't thought that much about the bear in the last 5 years.

The photos are real. The bear is real. I'm real.
Posted by Erik Kalviainen  on  Sun Nov 14, 2010  at  08:52 PM
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