Black bear plays bird feeder tetherball in Iowa back yard

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   June 17, 2015 at 9:10 AM

OSAGE, Iowa, June 17 (UPI) -- An Iowa woman who captured video of a bear playing tetherball with her backyard bird feeder said she has never seen a bear in the area before.

Diane Steffen said she was in the kitchen of her Osage home about 10:30 a.m. Saturday when she noticed one of her backyard birdfeeders had been tipped over and she walked to the window for a closer look.

"I looked down and there was a black bear," Steffen told the Mason City Globe Gazette. "I actually looked away and looked back to see if it was really true."

Steffen captured video of the bear batting at a hanging birdfeeder in a raiding attempt that came closer to a single-player game of tetherball.

Vince Evelsizer, a biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said three black bears have been reported wandering around northern and eastern Iowa in recent weeks. The bear recorded by Steffen is believed to be the same animal spotted Thursday in Rockwell and Friday morning in nearby Rockford.

Evelsizer said the bears' wanderings don't necessarily mean the species is making a comeback in the state.

"Right now at this time we do not have a breeding population in our state," Evelsizer said. "So they're not behind every tree in our state."

He said the bears are believed to have wandered into Iowa from Wisconsin and will likely soon return to their state of origin.

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