WAUSAU (WAOW)-- Springtime brings a unique problem to north central Wisconsin.
Weather warms, snow melts, and bears wake up from their winter hibernation. After months with no food, the bears are hungry. Sunflower seeds, filled with protein, found in bird feeders are a treat for the bears.
When a bear got into his bird feeder Jeff Traska knew something had to be done.
"Once you take away the food source," Traska says, "those animals go away and do what they do naturally."
Traska runs the Wisconsin Black Bear Education Center from his home in Wausau. He uses the center to teach people from all over the world about black bears.
He also raises three bears of his own; Vince, Moon and Sunny.
Traska used his extensive knowledge of bears to invent the birds only feeder system.
Anchored by a strong metal pole with concrete running 4ft. underground, the feeder stands 9ft. tall. Tall enough to be out of the hungry bear's reach.
Their patented design catches the seeds before they drop, forcing the bear to look elsewhere for his next meal.
They have tested their feeder for four years. So far, no bear has gotten into the feeders.
Traska says bears have a good memory. If they find a bird feeder one year... chances are they will be back the next.
You can find more information about the feeders and the Wisconsin Black Bear Education Center at this link
Bird feeders made in Wisconsin.
Online Reporter: Nate Barrett