SHELTON — An Old Stratford Road home played host to a hungry visitor Friday.

Barbara Lockhart snapped a photo of a bear eating from a backyard bird feeder on her property about 11:30 a.m.

“He was a young bear … nice to see from the house,” said Lockhart, adding that it would have been a different story had she been outside at the time.

“We called the (state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) … they told us to take down the birdfeeder and not put it up until late November,” Lockhard said.

She said DEEP officials also suggested putting bleach or ammonia in her garbage pails to help keep the bear away.

Sightings have been on the rise the past few months. Back in July, the Shelton Conservation and Trails, on its Facebook page, stated that aside from the White Hills area, which normally has sporadic sightings, there have been several sightings in the Nells Rock area, and most recently the Long Hill Avenue area.

Streets mentioned in sightings included Buddington Road, English Lane (off Buddington); Rocky Rest; Wesley Drive and the Rec Path; Constitution and Waterview; Walnut Tree Hill Road at Jones Farm; Longfellow; William and Wheeler; Rushbrooke Lane; Wesley Village (Long Hill Avenue); and the Asbury Ridge Rivendell Condos.

Residents can report sightings to police or to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011. Reports can also be made online.

According to DEEP: “Black bears occur throughout much of the state. In 2019, approximately 7,300 bear sightings from 150 of Connecticut’s 169 towns were reported to the DEEP Wildlife Division.”

Animal Control Supervisor Leon Sylvester stated previously that city animal control does not handle bears, but “we do advise not approaching and removing bird feeders if any have been spotted in your area. Also report to DEEP.”

Shelton Conservation and Trails officials recommend residents remove all bird feeders, including empty ones, and securing garbage and pet food from bears.

Also, refrain from feeding any bears, who then learn to “hang around people for more food,” the site says. Trails officials stated that these are “typically young, impressionable bears who just got kicked out by mom, and are trying to figure out how to live. When they find food around people, the lesson sticks, and they just keep coming back for more.

“That can lead to bears breaking into homes, opening up the freezer and helping themselves. And on occasion, these ‘problem bears’ can become aggressive and pose a threat to people. All very easily prevented by just not feeding them in the first place. Help the bears by not feeding them,” the site states.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com