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Ten Ways to Help Your Wildlife!

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Ten Ways to Help Your Wildlife!

Do you ever wonder about things YOU can do in your daily life to help maintain the health and safety of birds and animals in your world? Do you want to know more about how to animal-proof your house? Have you ever found an injured bird or animal and wished you knew how to get help? Here are ten ways you can help, as compiled by the Wildlife Rescue League, a non-profit group of licensed wildlife rehabilitators who take care of injured and orphaned animals and return them to the wild.

  1. Don't become a food source for wild animals. Animal populations need to be naturally balanced to the environment. Do not encourage wildlife who do their foraging at night by leaving garbage or pet food outside or leaving shed or garage doors open. Don't encourage wildlife to eat from your hand.
  2. Do not kidnap baby animals. Most young animals are not orphaned but are being cared for by nearby parents. If you aren't sure if it should be rescued, call the wildlife hotline.
  3. Obey speed limits! Watch for animals crossing the road and take responsibility for an animal if you hit it with your car. If you see a dead opossum in the spring, check to see if it is a female with babies clinging to her who need to be rescued.
  4. Dispose of your garbage properly and pick up garbage you see outside. Waste can be hazardous to wildlife. Some of the worst are can lids, yogurt containers, bottles with sweet sticky things inside, and plastic six-pack rings.
  5. Use non-toxic alternatives to pesticides, rodenticides, and herbicides. Toxic chemicals can affect the whole food chain--insects, mammals, songbirds, and birds of prey--as well as domestic animals and humans.
  6. Place bird feeders a safe distance from windows and neighborhood cats. Disinfect seed feeders at least once a month and hummingbird feeders every few days (especially when it is hot). Dispose of moldy seed. Keep ground under feeders clean of debris and move your feeders a few feet every year.
  7. Animal-proof your home before critters move in. Close off openings to attics, seal holes around the basement, screen vents and gutters, and install chimney caps. Keep branches pruned on any trees near the sides or roof of your home so wildlife will not have a ladder onto your property.
  8. Check carefully for nests before cutting down trees or cleaning your chimney in the spring and summer! If an animal does enter your house, don't trap it. Call the wildlife hotline for advice.
  9. Keep domestic pets inside or on a leash. It only takes seconds for a cat or dog to injure wildlife. (Not only is that very bad for the wildlife, it may mean that your pet will have to be quarantined.)
  10. Before mowing in the spring and summer, check for grassy mounds or disturbed areas that are the sign of a rabbit nest. Be careful not to mow over the nest, and keep dogs and cats away from baby rabbits. Mother rabbits only feed their babies at dawn and dusk, so don't assume the babies are orphans!

The Wildlife Rescue League's Hotline is 703-440-0800

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