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