PAWS Magazine

Issue 70, Summer 2008

Summer Tips for Sharing Your Space with Wildlife

Spring has given way to summer, which means many wild species are busy raising and defending their rapidly-growing young. Encounters with fledglings---

Photo of a crow calling loudly.
Like this crow, many birds will call loudly and dive-bomb to protect their young. This behavior will cease when the young are able to fend for themselves.

young birds making their first attempts at flight---are very common throughout July and into August. They may spend several days on the ground before their muscles are strong enough to allow for continuous flight. During this vulnerable time, their parents continue to avidly protect and care for them.

If you are being dive-bombed by birds in your yard, there's a good chance fledglings are nearby. The parent birds' protective behavior will relax as the young birds develop their ability to fly and fend for themselves. In the meantime, give these birds a little extra space to help reduce their stress level and allow the parents to concentrate on feeding their young.

 

Photo of a raccoon high up in a tree.
Since they require more food to feed their growing young, food-related conflicts with Raccoons and Coyotes often increase during the summer. Eliminate access to human-created food sources if you wish to avoid conflicts.

Wild mammals also raising young during the summer months have increased energy needs, and therefore search for easily obtained food to fill their own bellies as well as those of their hungry offspring. Uncovered garbage cans, compost piles, pet food, and even pets themselves may be tempting to an animal working hard to raise a family. The best way to prevent wild mammals from taking advantage of these foods is to remove the supply. Securely cover your garbage cans and compost bins, bring pet food inside, and do not allow your pets to roam unattended freely outside.

As summer progresses into fall, many wild animals will reach the age of independence and begin to disperse. Birds who stay local may gather together in winter feeding flocks, and migratory birds will begin to head for their wintering grounds. For these birds, windows are a significant hazard.

Birds frequently fly headfirst into glass that reflects nearby vegetation and may be injured or killed by the impact. In the last few years, more than 250 birds have been brought into PAWS because of collisions with windows, and that doesn't count the many birds who die instantly on impact or are never found. Place windsocks or streamers in front of your window, or stick decals on the surface of the glass to reduce reflections. These simple steps will go a long way toward decreasing this common danger for birds.

If you have questions about the behavior of wildlife, or if you would like to find humane solutions to common wildlife conflicts, contact PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.787.2500 x817. You can also find information in the Resources and Fact Sheets section at paws.org.

 

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