A great way to start the new year is to be conscious of the ways we can help wildlife. Here are some tips on how to help bears, birds, and our other native wildlife.
A bear tears apart a garbage bag looking for food. (istock.com/AwakenedEye)
• Most human conflicts with black bears are due to garbage and other human driven attractants. Bears can receive as many calories from garbage in 10 minutes as from foraging in the forest all day. Help protect bears by only putting your garbage out in the morning of pick-up, not the night before. Take down bird feeders during the summer; feed pets indoors; maintain your backyard compost properly, if you have one; clean your barbeque by burning off the grill and cleaning out the grease trap and store it covered and in a locked shed.
• Help protect our native birds by keeping pet cats inside. On average, cats kill more than 100 million birds each year in Canada. If a bird isn’t killed outright in an attack, bacteria found in the saliva and mouth of a cat can cause swift and fatal infection. If you feel it’s cruel to keep your pet inside, have someone handy build an outdoor enclosure fit for a feline king or queen.
• Keeping bird feeders and bird baths clean is key to preventing and spreading diseases among our feathered friends. At least once a month, or more frequently in humid hot weather, take down your bird feeders and soak them in a 10% bleach solution. Rinse thoroughly and dry the feeders before refilling them. Discard old seeds and remove all seeds from the ground. Bird baths should also be cleaned as frequently as possible, or they can cause more harm than good.
• Sadly, window strikes happen quite frequently for our native birds. Birds see the window reflection as a continuation of their environment. Lessen the chance of window strikes by applying images of hawks to the window, hang streamers, or cover the whole window. Bird proofing must be applied on the outside of the window. Window decals with UV reflecting properties can be helpful.
• Keep our roadways safe for wildlife. Don’t throw litter out of your car window while out and about. Take a container with you for your scraps and dispose of them later. By disposing of waste and compost properly, you can help prevent injury to wild animals.
You can help the wildlife in care at NIWRA by making a financial contribution on our secure website. Thank you so much for caring about wildlife!