As spring weather arrives in Michigan, animals are on the move, including bears.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reports bears are beginning to wake up from winter hibernation.

Reasons for increased activity from bears in Michigan include food and mating. Bears typically mate in June or July, so food is the primary cause for the increase in bear activity being seen right now.

"At this time of year, bears are looking for food," said Adam Bump, Michigan DNR bear and furbearer specialist. "They are hungry after spending months in their dens. While we might not think of bird feeders and trash cans as food sources, a hungry bear certainly may."

Birdseed is especially attractive to bears because of its high fat content and availability. Once bird feeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed.

"The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears in the spring involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to take in their bird feeders and store other attractants, like grills, trash cans and pet food, in a garage or storage shed," Bump said. "Once the woods green up, bears tend to move on to find more natural sources of food, as long as they haven't become habituated to the birdseed or garbage cans."

Anyone who continues to have problems with bears, even after food sources have been removed for two to three weeks, should contact the nearest DNR office for further assistance.

Learn more about bears in Michigan.

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