Gifts to Give Wildlife A Boost This Season
The gifts that are most appreciated are those that make life a little easier. That certainly holds true for wildlife, the grateful recipients of any goodwill that people want to show them this season.
According to Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife for The Humane Society of the United States, "Although wild animals are able to adapt to help them survive winter cold temperatures and food limitations, there are also many small things that people can do to help them this time of year. We suggest several 'gifts of the season' that can give wildlife a warm boost during the holidays."
-- Keep bird feeders full in the winter since food availability is very limited for non-migratory birds.
-- Fill large pine cones with peanut butter and roll them in sunflower seeds, then attach a string to the top and hang them outdoors from trees for birds (a great activity for kids).
-- Get a heated birdbath and keep it filled all winter long. Birds need the water at this time of year when most natural sources may be frozen.
-- Put decorative snowflakes 4 inches apart on any windows where birds might hit, or have hit in the past.
-- Put a window well cover over any window wells around your house to prevent any animals from falling in.
-- Use only environmentally-friendly sidewalk salt for melting ice such as Safe Paws Ice Melter. Regular sidewalk salts pollute the environment and can irritate cats' and dogs' paws.
-- Appreciate your backyard wild neighbors. Take a walk around your yard in the snow and try to identify different species' tracks.
Buy a good wildlife tracking guide for yourself -- or as a gift -- such as "Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Signs" or "Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks."
The HSUS Wild Neighbors Program promotes non-lethal means for resolving conflicts between people and wildlife and cultivates understanding and appreciation for wild animals commonly found in cities and towns.
On the Web at www.wild neighbors.org.
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