wild critters in the cold

Please try to help our wild friends during this unprecedented cold snap. Putting out food and water stations for birds, squirrels and rabbits will help them survive until natural food is again plentiful. Cold weather forces animals and birds to use much more energy than usual so extra food and water is important for survival.

There is a new Wild Bird feeding store in Tiffany Plaza next door to Fresh Fish Company that provides local wildlife specialized foods. Bags of seed from Petco, Walmart, Target and other non-specific stores contains a lot of waste seed–seed our local birds won’t eat and is therefore a waste of your effort and money.

Many birds are “ground feeders,” and won’t avail themselves of feeder food up high. Place seed in plant pot bottoms or other flat plate-like containers. If snow is deep, place the plate on top so the ground feeders can get to it without sinking in. They’ll avoid areas of poor footage, in order to be able to escape possible predators.

Water stations need to be kept from freezing with specialized heaters or go out once or twice a day with buckets of warm water. I rotate the water containers so some are inside defrosting while others are outside.

Squirrels need food too, or they’ll chew the bark on your trees. To save my trees, I provide food stations for them with appropriate vittles.

Rabbits can eat grass if they can get to it but if snow is too deep, I shovel spaces over my grass so they can have access. They need water too.

It is not advisable to feed wild predators such as raccoons, foxes or especially, coyotes. Feeding only makes them habituated to humans and will lead to their deaths. Habituated wild predators are seen as nuisances and will be eliminated, so do them a favor and don’t feed them!

Geese are protected by law so don’t allow your dogs or kids to chase them off. They use tremendous amounts of energy to lift off into flight–energy they can’t spare in this frigid weather.

Respect and honor all wildlife. They help make our neighborhoods peaceful and pleasurable to reside in. I love the sound of birdsong, the sight of playful squirrels and the fuzzy cuteness of bunnies. My yard is a Certified Backyard Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation and I enjoy a piece of country in my suburban corner of the world. I hope you do too.

Thanks for anything you can do to help our outside neighbors!

Sunny Weber

Sunny Weber

Sunny has over 25 years’ experience in pet rescue, humane education, shelter & sanctuary work, service dog training, obedience competition, dog & cat fostering, pet medical care, horse ground training and has authored articles and books in several fields.

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