A bear pair strolled through a back yard in northern Ridgefield.

“There are two bears in my yard!” Diane Strickrodt said, recalling her reaction.

She read about bears in Ridgefield in recent weeks. And her daughter, who lives in Wilton, told her on the phone seen some stuff on Facebook about bear sightings in Ridgefield that morning.

Then she looked outside and saw not just a bear, but two bears.

“I never expected they’d be in my little back yard,” she said. “It was amazing, surreal.”

She started shooting video.

The bears didn’t do that much.

“They just sniffed around and then went on their way,” Strickrodt said..

It was about 9:45 — “just before 10” —Thursday morning, June 18, that she saw the bears, Strickrodt said.

“I was just getting ready to go outside and do some work, and looked up and there they were. It was pretty shocking,” she said. “I don’t know where they came from.”

Strickrodt lives off Old Stagecoach Road, and said that after the bears left her house there were reports of them over by fields around Ridgebury Elementary School.

“I’m like through the woods behind the Ridgebury field. They went straight from my house to there, I’m guessing,” she said.

Bears are around

She’s been reading quite a bit about bear sightings lately. (The Ridgefield Press had photos and stories of a bear in the town’s village on May 26, and on Seth Low Mountain Road on June 2.)

“I don’t know their traits, but it seems right now they’re very busy, all of them,” Strickrodt said.

“They spotted one right by St. Mary’s Church, for goodness sake.

“There are plenty of them around, I guess,” she said. “If we leave them alone I guess they’ll leave us alone.

“They’re on the move right now,” she said.

“They’re really cute. I don’t think they’d hurt anything.”

Still, she did call off her plan for a morning of yard work.

“I didn’t go out for a couple of hours,” Strickrodt said. “I was kind of: I’ll find something else to do. I was going to go out and work outside right before they came, but I decided to give them some room. You never know.

“I hope that people just leave them be and let them be who they are,” she said. “But some people get all worked up: ‘They’re going to hurt people!’ And I don’t think they will.

“I think you just need to leave them alone.”

DEEP on bears

That — leave bears alone, and don’t feed them — is the general advice form the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

“Black bears are impressive animals,” the DEEP website says. “Even a long-distance glimpse of one foraging in a woodland is an unforgettable experience for most outdoor enthusiasts.

“However, glimpsing a bear in Connecticut was once unlikely because bears were extirpated from the state by the mid-1800s. Since then, bears have made a comeback. Their return is due, in part, to the regrowth of forestland throughout the region following the abandonment of farms during the late 1800s.

“Beginning in the 1980s, the DEEP Wildlife Division had evidence of a resident black bear population. Since then, annual sighting reports have increased dramatically, indicating a rapid increase in the bear population. With the number of bears increasing in the state, it is important for residents to learn the facts about black bears and how to coexist with them...

“Reports of bear sightings, even in heavily populated residential areas, have been on the rise. The Wildlife Division has also seen an increase in the number of reported problems with black bears. The primary contributing factor to bear nuisance problems is the presence of easily-accessible food sources near homes and businesses. Fed bears can become habituated and lose their fear of humans.”

The DEEP offered some “do’s and don’ts” for coexisting with bears.

“Bears should never be fed, either intentionally or accidentally. Connecticut residents should take the following simple steps to avoid conflicts and problems with black bears:

“Bears are attracted to garbage, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees, and birdfeeders.

“Do remove birdfeeders and bird food from late March through November.

“Do eliminate food attractants by placing garbage cans inside a garage or shed. Add ammonia to trash to make it unpalatable.

“Do clean and store grills in a garage or shed after use. (Propane cylinders should be stored outside.)

“Don’t intentionally feed bears. Bears that become accustomed to finding food near your home may become ‘problem’ bears.

“Don’t approach or try to get closer to a bear to get a photo or video.

“Don’t leave pet food outside overnight.

“Don’t add meat or sweets to a compost pile.”