For bears and hares, the mild weather is a mixed bag
MONTPELIER - The lack of snow is contributing to delayed hibernation for some black bears, making snowshoe hares conspicuous to predators and slowing the annual migration of waterfowl.
Experts say for now, the weather is an advantage for some wildlife. Some are using less energy surviving and foraging for food that isn't yet covered in snow and ice.
Access to food is keeping some black bears out of their winter dens. The bear activity has prompted officials in Vermont and Massachusetts to urge residents to wait for snow before putting up bird feeders to avoid attracting bears.
A lack of snow also makes some animals more vulnerable to prey. Snowshoe hares and long- and short-tailed weasels have already molted and grown in their winter white coats, a process driven by length of daylight.
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