Bears, bobcats and birds: Bangor councilor keeps finding critter stories

Dr. Doolittle he’s not. There’s no evidence that Bangor City Councilor Josh Plourde can actually talk to the animals, after all.

But find ‘em? Plourde’s proving to be pretty good at that.

It turns out that in three of the BDN’s most well-read critter stories over the past year and a half, Plourde has been nearby.

Remember when the woman struck a bobcat with her car, then gave it a ride to downtown Bangor, unaware that she wasn’t transporting an over-sized house cat until the dazed wild animal woke up and started acting … well … wild?

Plourde was there to offer assistance.

Last week, a “tornado of birds” chimney swifts, came to Bangor,

Plourde, who had heard about the phenomenon from a friend, was there, and captured some video on his cell phone.

And on Tuesday, just days after others reported that black bears had been sighted in the Rolland F. Perry City Forest, guess what happened?

A mother bear clings to a tree in Bangor's Rolland F. Perry City Forest recently. Bangor city councilor Josh Plourde saw the bear and her cubs while on a jog. (Photo by Josh Plourde)

A mother bear clings to a tree in Bangor’s Rolland F. Perry City Forest recently. Bangor city councilor Josh Plourde saw the bear and her cubs while on a jog. (Photo by Josh Plourde)

Plourde went for a jog in the forest and ended up face to face with mama bear, who was standing at the base of a tree her two cubs had just scurried up.

“I actually heard from a group of cyclists that went by there that there was a bear up ahead and I wanted to see it,” Plourde said.

Plourde was jogging on the Main Road trail, and said the shortest way back to his car took him past the bears. When he arrived, the mother bear joined her cubs in the tree, and Plourde thought about his next plan of action.

“As I got closer  she went up the tree and did some huffing and scratching,” Plourde said. “She was more in defense mode than offense mode, which was good for me.”

As he went past the tree, within 30 feet or so at one point, Plourde took care to make his presence known.

“I had [National Public Radio music] playing on my phone, and I took my headphones off and played the music loudly on speaker, and clapped my hands,” Plourde said. “I wanted her to know I was there.”

The red dot shows where Plourde saw the bears.

The red dot shows where Plourde saw the bears.

Plourde also snapped a few photos of the bears with his phone and warned other people along the trail as he returned to his car.

Despite his recent history with critters, Plourde said the bear sighing in City Forest was a first for him.

“I’ve been running out there for years now, and sometimes I forget it’s not just a well-manicured zoo,” said Pourde, who has seen plenty of rabbits and an occasional snake while on the trails. “It’s great that we have this within city limits. That was the first interaction I’ve had with large wildlife, though.”

So what’s his secret? Does Plourde know something we don’t? Can he really talk to animals?

“I guess I just pay attention and hang out with the right people,” he said with a chuckle. “And my office mate says I smell right.”

 

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.