A bear who visits a homeowner two nights in a row, a bobcat that lurks in the hedgerow, a raccoon who climbs a metal pole to reach the birdseed — Westford, although no longer rural, is still a haven for wildlife. Things get even better for the animals when free food is on display in the form of a bird feeder.
The town’s animal control officer, Kirsten Hirschler, has information about what entices a bear to walk through a fence’s gate and break two panels in the process.
“Very likely (the homeowner) had birdseed there…A lot of people think, ‘I’ll just take in the bird feeder at night,'” Hirschler said. (“The animals) can smell it from a long distance.”
It was a Chelmsford resident posting on a Westford Facebook page that launched a group discussion on some types of wildlife. “…this bear is going to wear out his welcome, stated the resident. “He came through my fence last night AGAIN and knocked two panels out of the fence.”
The solitary bobcats have been prowling around Westford since the mid-2000’s, often camouflaging themselves among wheat-colored plants.
“Co-existing is the big thing’ Hirschler said, listing additional species living in Westford, such as, deer, foxes, and coyotes.
A raccoon who discovered food at a condominium unit at Blanchard Farms in Westford, returned a few days later to lick the sauce off a fallen paper plate from a cook-out.
Hirschler said there may be five bears living in town among residents, which is not always the best situation for the animals. In 2017 a motorcyclist on Route 2 hit and killed a baby cub, she said.
The owner of a cat and dog, Hirschler is an animal facilitator, licensed by the state to rehabilitate wildlife.
“The goal in facilitation is to return wildlife to the forest,” she said.