Kenai bird watcher describes bear attack

Toby Burke and his family were bird watching on the beach near the mouth of the Kasilof River on Sunday when a brown bear attacked.  “When the bear was headed towards us, we were like, ‘OK, it’s do or die now,’” Burke, a Kenai National Wildlife Refuge biologist, told ABC News.


“The bear is coming, it’s coming towards us!” yelled 11-year-old Grace Burke to her father.

“We were raising our arms and made loud noises,” Laura Burke said. “That’s supposed to scare the bear away. Instead of running away, it came right towards us.”

That’s when the bear bounded towards them and Toby Burke yelled to his wife, “Get behind me!” 

Laura Burke, with her 7-month old baby on her back, grabbed her two other children to get behind her husband.

“When the bear came at my husband, my 8-year-old, Damien, wanted to run,” Laura Burke said. “I remember his dad said, ‘Don’t run. Stick together!’”

Toby Burke used his tripod-mounted bird spotting scope to fend off the bear, but he says he was badly bruised when the bear's bit down on his arm.

Read more at ABC News. See other accounts of the attack on the Burkes at The Redoubt Reporter and the Peninsula Clarion.