It's Baby Season in Wildlife World
It's that time again. Winter has gone and it's time to maintain your house and garden in the new season. But don't be surprised if you come face to face with your wild neighbors because spring means baby season in the wildlife world.
"Wild animals, particularly babies in dens and nests, can be accidentally injured or orphaned when people trim trees, mow lawns, clean chimneys, or set traps for those 'nuisance' wild animals around the house," said Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife for The Humane Society of the United States. "Taking just a few simple precautions can prevent injuring or orphaning wildlife when you clean and make basic repairs to your house."
n Windows: Prevent birds from hitting windows by dangling 3-foot strips of Mylar tape or party balloons (the shinier the better) from the top of the glass outside the window.
n Lawns: Always walk over lawns before you mow to check for wildlife such as turtles and nests of baby rabbits. Turtles may be gently moved, but nests of baby rabbits should be left alone -- and the mowing near them delayed -- so that the mother can come back to nurse them. Wait until they are gone to mow, or better yet, start a little meadow in that part of the lawn.
n Trees: Check for bird nests before trimming trees. If you accidentally knock a bird's nest out of a tree, retrieve it and the young and re-nest them in the same location. If the nest is destroyed, use a nest sized wicker basket (the kind plants come in) and secure it firmly where the original nest was. Watch for the parents to return: it's a myth that birds will reject their young if touched by humans.
n Chimneys: From a wild animal's perspective, open chimneys are cozy accommodations for raising young. If you discover such guests, tolerating their presence is always the best option until they leave on their own. However, be aware that some animals (squirrels, for example) may get trapped in chimneys. If you suspect an animal is trapped call your local animal control agency or a wildlife rehabilitator for advice.
n Never try to smoke any animal out of a chimney! The results can be disastrous, since young mammals cannot get out on their own. Once you're absolutely sure all the animals are gone, have the chimney capped to permanently prevent further problems.
n Scrap the trap: This is the time of year when wild animals den and nest around people's homes. If you're experiencing a "nuisance" wildlife conflict, resist temptation to set a trap. Chances are you'll trap a nursing mother animal, leaving the young behind to starve.
n Clean closets: Donate fur and fur-trimmed apparel. The Humane Society of the United States' Coats for Cubs program sends donated fur items to wildlife rehabilitators, who use them as bedding and nesting material for animals. The fur becomes a "surrogate mother" to the orphaned or injured animal, reducing stress and giving comfort.
For more tips on living humanely with wild animals, visit www.humanesociety. orgwildneighbors.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization -- backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs.
More like this story