ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- With spring around the corner, black bears in the Twin Tiers have begun waking up from hibernation.  

March kicks off the end of winter hibernation for black bears and the beginning of a scavenging season in New York State as they look for food. Black bears tend to gravitate towards easy access food found in garbage cans and bird feeders. Tanglewood Nature Center's Ryan Donnelly shares how residents can prevent scavengers from showing up on their doorstep.  

“The best thing to do is get those trash cans out the morning of pick-up day,” Donnelly said. “After the garbage trucks come by, get them back into the house, get them secured, away from where a bear could investigate; look for some extra food.”  

He continued by explaining what residents should do if they find themselves face-to-face with a bear.  

“The best thing to do is to keep your distance. Safe distance is about 200 to 300 feet,” Donnelly said. “Make yourself as big as possible, stretch your arms out, make loud noises, if you have a whistle, that’s great.”  

Anyone with questions regarding nuisance animals should contact the Department of Environmental Conservation. More information can be found on their website.