WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Wildlife experts differ on the exact cause, but one fact everyone agrees on: There have been more sightings of wild animals in Westchester and neighboring counties in 2015 than in recent years.
Whether it's the wetter, warmer weather, increased housing starts or heightened public attention, area police are receiving more reports of coyotes, foxes, deer and geese -- as well as encounters with bears and hawks.
In recent months, there have been sporadic bear sightings from Yonkers' southern border with New York City, north to Yorktown and Connecticut.
According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, New York's black bear population is expanding, causing more bear-human interactions.
Bear sightings were reported from all corners of Weston, Conn., on July 3, according to the town’s animal control officer. And a bear was tranquilized and captured in Fairfield, Conn. , in June. A week earlier in Norwalk, Conn. a black bear was spotted near the Merritt Parkway-Route 7 interchange,
According to wildlife experts, Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield counties provide plenty of green space and food for all wildlife. Deer as well as coyotes appear to have a diminished sense of fear of humans in recent years, they say.
Coyote reports have been frequent since the beginning of 2015. They also have been bold this spring, with one spotted at SUNY Purchase in the town of Harrison during June high school graduation ceremonies and another sleeping on a green at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough.
The state DEC offers various tips to avoid attracting coyotes to backyards, and how to react during a face-to-face encounter here:
A reader from Eastchester said coyotes have been spotted there ever since Twin Lakes was drained. While the site has been restored, its ecosystem was disturbed, forcing coyotes and other animals to find new homes.
Wild avian activity also is up. A red-tailed hawk has been frequenting Eastchester near Lake Isle Country Club.
Several readers reported flocks of turkeys in Greenburgh and along Westchester Avenue in White Plains and Harrison. Meanwhile, geese nested at White Plains High School in April and have been disrupting traffic along Route 119 near the Greenburgh Town Court and Police Department in recent weeks.
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