Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saving Urban Wildlife In Your Own Backyard!

Urban wildlife means animals who live in the city or suburbs. This would include squirrels, birds, chipmunks, rabbits, mice, bats, skunks, raccoons, and even insects! Animals in the city are brave and often tough-- but not necessarily tough enough to survive toxic chemicals, litter, and lack of food. It's hardly fair when we call them "pests"-- who was here first, after all, us or them? I suppose you could even say that us humans are the pests! Either way, we should try to be the least harmful to the native species of our area as possible.
This is one of my favourite ways of helping animals because you can see the effects of your actions right away-- cleaner neighbourhood, less chance of animals being injured or killed. Without further ado, I shall rattle off some of my (and other people's) ideas for saving wildlife in your neighbourhood!
  1. Put window stickers or dangling ornaments on/around your windows to avoid bird collisions. Even a few stickers can do-- it will warn the birds that the impossibly clean window is, indeed, a hard surface. You can purchase some eco-friendly, fair-trade ornaments at Browse around! You might find something interesting. Of course, you can make your own, too-- old Christmas cards, current to-do lists... It's up to you, just do something!
  2. Pick up any garbage you see on the ground. You can either organize a litter clean-up or just grab an elastic or two on your way. Once I saw a chipmunk attempting to stow away some plastic garbage in my backyard. I quickly scared her away and picked up the plastic. She could have suffocated on that bag, or been sickened with toxins, if I hadn't picked it up. My point: every little piece of garbage can make a difference! Tip: You're likely to find a lot of elastic bands around post boxes, since the letters are carried in packs with elastics around them. For some reason, the post people will often just throw them on the ground! So that would be a good place to check, if you're looking for ideas.
  3. Be careful not to spill chemicals (like anti-freeze) on the ground (or down the storm drain!). Since anti-freeze tastes sweet, animals will enjoy lapping it up-- only to suffer fatal consequences later.
  4. Especially during harsh winter months, leave out birdseed and vegetable scraps for the birds, squirrels, and rabbits. It's only fair to share-- and if they don't eat it, it will still be used as fertiliser for your lawn!
  5. Don't try to get rid of the so-called "pest" animals, unless they are literally tearing your house apart or giving you diseases. See my earlier post, "Give Pests a Rest!" for more details.
Living with wildlife can be very interesting, and even amusing at times. You can watch the birds at the birdfeeder and the rabbits in the yard. It's also crucial to remember that reducing your environmental footprint may be the key factor in saving wildlife everywhere. You can see my environment blog, Hug a Tree Today, Seriously, at , to learn more.
Have a good week!

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