Night bear on Elsinore Street: Roving Concord bruin caught on camera toppling nesting box

By Celeste Katz Marston —

After Elaine and David Kindler set up a camera to monitor a nesting box in their yard, they looked forward to seeing chickadee hatchlings flutter into the world. 

A bear had other ideas.

“In all the years on Elsinore Street, I’ve never seen or heard of a bear in the neighborhood,” David Kindler told The Concord Bridge.

That changed last Wednesday at 2:44 a.m. when the couple’s motion-activated cam caught a shaggy visitor dragging the box from its pole. 

The Kindlers’ nesting box. Courtesy photo

Residents spotted a bear with ear tags in the Sudbury Road neighborhood earlier this month. 

Dave Wattles, a Mass Wildlife bear biologist, said Tuesday he’s “99.9% sure it’s the same bear. Really just the one bear in the area, and this one has ear tags too.”

Elaine, a hobbyist bird photographer, said Tuesday that they initially set up the nesting box hoping to attract a bluebird, but chickadees moved in. 

“We had so many things on that box to protect birds,” she said.

“We had a predator guard on there. We had a baffle, so the raccoons couldn’t climb it. And then we [had] monofilament line to keep the house sparrows [out].” 

None of that was any match for the night bear, who’s seen on video making quick work of the box before he sinks out of the frame. 

An astonished Elaine spotted the avian sanctuary on the ground while grabbing her morning coffee. 

She first suspected a gaze of raccoons had done the dirty work. 

“When David came downstairs before I left for work, I said, ‘Don’t ask me any questions. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t know what happened.’ [Before] I left, he obviously looked at the footage on the wifi camera. And all he said to me was, ‘It was a bear,’” she recalled. 

“It was just the most bizarre thing,” she added. “I’m thinking, ‘Come on… you’re going to take the time to knock a pole down [for] what’s not even an appetizer for you?’”

Video courtesy of David and Elaine Kindler

Concord’s new neigh-bear?

Wattles previously said the Concord bear, a young male, was undoubtedly the same bruin spotted in Lincoln — and the one previously relocated from a roadway in downtown Worcester.

“As long as people leave food in their garages — birdseed, garbage… bears are going to investigate it,” he said. “If people [listened] to us and removed the bird feeders and secured other potential food sources, the bears would look elsewhere, natural areas, for food.”

Photo illustration by Peter Farago

It’s “impossible to say” how long the bear might continue cruising around Concord, he said: “It could settle [and] continue to visit homes for the food available there. Or it could move on.”

In the meantime, he advised that “people take precautions, assuming it will remain.”

A Barnes Hill Road resident separately told the Bridge in an email that on May 22, he found his “metal bird feeder pole had been flattened to the ground and the feeders dispersed around the yard.”

The pole, he insisted, “is much too sturdy for a raccoon to exert that degree of force.” 

After dragging down the nesting box in the yard of the Kindlers — who note that they do take in their bird feeders at night to keep raccoons at bay — the bear was apparently in no hurry to shamble off. 

They say he returned the next night and made his way into their garage. 

While he didn’t trash a birdseed supply secured in metal garbage cans, the bear left a different mess for them to clean up. 

Care! Bear

After the incursion, the Kindlers moved quickly to inform neighbors and urge them to protect their pets. They also contacted the Concord Police Department, which referred the report to the animal control officer, CPD Captain Brian Goldman told the Bridge Thursday.

What Mass Wildlife officials believe was the same bear was seen recently in the Sudbury Road area. Courtesy photo

Elaine says other spotters might have found the visiting bear a charming novelty, but “I’m like, ‘No, it’s not.’ It killed my wildlife in my yard…

“People need to be aware, and everyone needs to be diligent [with] their dogs. Who knows how that bear is going to react?” she asked. “[If] that thing is in your garage looking for food or your trash is insecure and you’re startled, and you startle it, it could be dangerous.”

Since the incident, Elaine says she’s been in no rush to watch the video. 

“I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to see my box getting torn apart,” she said. 

“[It] just kills me. It kills me.”

This story has been updated.