A step-by-step journey from wary beginning to untimely end:

• Smell something interesting. Follow nose to people place. Food smells good, but people might be dangerous. Wait until dark to explore.

• Gobble up birdseed on ground. Knock down feeder, eat lots more. Run back to the woods.

• Come back a few nights later. Feeder is full again! Chow down. Follow nose onto deck.

• Jackpot! Find garbage by back door. Open, scatter and eat. Score a day’s worth of calories. Plan to return often to this new food bonanza. Amble back to the woods.

• Explore the neighborhood. Get much fatter much faster than you could foraging in the woods.

• Start coming during the day since food supply seems endless and humans appear to be harmless.

• Find open garage, knock over refrigerator. Eat pizza and ice cream. Score a week’s worth of calories.

• Do enough damage to get reported. Make the news.

• Start approaching people, looking for food. Get trapped, ear-tagged and hauled away.

• Find your way back. Yummy treats still there! Pick up where you left off.

• Scare someone putting out the trash.

• Get labeled a threat to human safety.

• Get killed way before your time.

—Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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