Most of us have a list of chores to help us prepare for spring: washing windows, cleaning curtains, or prepping the garden for planting. Sensing the change in seasons, wild animals also complete a list of tasks, although some of them may seem strange to us. Understanding more about these actions can help us to be better neighbors to the wildlife in our backyards.
The spring breeding season certainly causes most of the increased activity of wild mammals and birds at this time of year. In search of perfect nesting and den locations, wild animals will take advantage of every available space that seems to offer safety, warmth and easy access. Vents and other nooks that lead to basements, crawl spaces or attics are very attractive to these parents-to-be, as are brush piles, chimneys and trees.
Before a wild creature decides to set up house in your home, check your property's exterior for potential access points, and make necessary repairs, remembering that some animals can squeeze through very tiny openings. Also be sure to get a cap for your chimney---you can find these at most hardware stores. If it's safe, consider leaving that brush pile and old, dead tree alone to provide habitat and food for wildlife. This will encourage wild animals to live there rather than in your home. And before pruning trees and shrubs, check for nests and dens that may have already been built.
Later in spring and summer as baby animals grow, many are left alone for periods of time by their parents. This does not necessarily mean that the parents have abandoned them. Baby birds learn to fly while on the ground and will spend many days seemingly alone, but their parents are nearby, continuing to feed and care for them. Young seals can spend several hours alone on a beach while their mothers hunt for food. Deer will often leave their fawns alone during the day, returning at dusk to feed them.
Unless a baby seems injured, sick or listless, they should be left to be cared for by their parents. If you are unsure whether a baby animal needs help, please contact the PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.787.2500 x817. Our expert staff will help you determine whether or not the animal truly needs help, and give you practical advice on the best steps to take to ensure their safety and your peace of mind.