A Nashua couple reported a black bear in their backyard, which they discovered Sunday evening after returning home from a long-distance shopping trip.
Deanne and Doug Fortnam got home around 7 p.m. from a trip to Connecticut to buy garden plants, when they made the discovery.
"We have a big 16x20 room with windows all around it, and you can see right into the garden. I was putting my stuff down on the table when I looked up and there was a bear, not 10 feet away from me," Deanne Fortnam said.
An amateur wildlife photographer, Fortnam said she instinctively grabbed her camera and started snapping.
She guesses it was a yearling bear who got kicked out by its mom and was trying to find food. After speaking to neighbors, she learned the black bear had been making rounds, poking around in everyone's birdfeeders.
"I'm just glad I hadn't filled my birdfeeders in about two weeks, or the bear would've been back. My neighbor said the bear circled back to her yard about an hour after he was there the first time," Deanne Fortnam said.
The residential neighborhood is located off Exit 5, near Main Dunstable Road.
She said there is some conservation land nearby and a wooded corridor that runs along Cambridge Road and Jennifer Drive, but generally speaking, wildlife is scarce.
Fortnam said she normally photographs birds in the wild. Although this is her first bear, she's also had fox and coyote and turkey sightings.
"The west side of Nashua is pretty suburban, though. A bear is the last thing I expected to see," Fortnam said.
This was one of several bear sightings reported recently in and around Southern New Hampshire, a typical occurance as hungry bears come out of hibernation.
As always, NH Fish & Game would like to remind the public that bird feeders are a draw to wildlife, and it's best to remove them from your property.
If you should see a bear, get to a safe place and call 911 to report the location, or notify Nashua Police at 594-3500.
For dos, don'ts and more in general on black bears, go to the NH Fish & Game site.