A Rockford-area couple had an unexpected visitor come to their home this weekend.
Sheryl Hutchinson and her husband Michael Griffith said they saw a black bear in their yard Saturday.
The bear, which they estimated to be about 6 feet tall on its hind legs, was seen near the couple's garage and around their yard, even getting close to one of their windows.
"It pulled down the hummingbird feeder and emptied it, drank out of the Lilly pot, then it came to the garage and pulled down branches and tried to eat the berries," Hutchinson said. "He wasn't aggressive at all."
According to the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office, a black bear sighting was reported around 10 a.m. in the 2100 block of Geddes Road.
"This type of thing is very unusual for this area," Sgt. Robert Swank said.
Swank said it has since been seen multiple times by both officers and residents.
While black bear sightings are rare for the area, there have been multiple reports of bear sightings recently, including one in nearby Stockton and another in Freeport, Swank said. It is not clear if those sightings involve the same bear.
"It's pretty coincidental to have such sightings in a small geographical area," he said.
Officials have been alerting area residents about the bear and warning them not to confront or provoke the bear if they see it.
"We're encouraging people if they see it not to make contact with it or provoke it in any way," he said. "Leave it alone and give officials a call."
Sheriff's deputies, state natural resource personnel and animal control have been notified of the sightings.
"I hope people realize it's an issue of land use," Hutchinson said. "That humans impact land use and it causes environmental change."