About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Resolve wild animal conflicts by critter-proofing your home before spring

Leave wildlife in the wild
Spring is nearly here, bringing warmer temperatures and the next generation of wildlife. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources would like to remind people that many species of wildlife hide their young for safety. These babies are not abandoned; they simply have been hidden by their mother until she returns for them. Also it is illegal to live trap and move animals and could be deadly to a pregnant momma or the young that get left behind.

If you think you have found an injured or abandoned baby call a licensed rehabilitator first. Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless you are licensed, it is illegal to trap or possess a live wild animal, including birds, squirrels, raccoons or deer, in Michigan.  

Sometimes it is tough for people to coexist with their wild neighbors but it is best to be as tolerant as they can toward animals raising their young nearby. If animals have caused problems for your house in the past, make sure to take precautions.

Here are a few tips when critter-proofing your home:
Scare them away: The easiest way to prevent wildlife from nesting in or around your home is to shoo them away as much as you can. Hang shiny flutter tape, Mylar balloons, windsocks, or chimes to scare them or make the potential nesting area look unattractive.

Block off holes: The best temporary measure against animals making a den out of your dryer vent chimney, porch or attic is putting a cage or chicken wire over any holes. But before blocking the entryway off, make sure there are no critters inside. Plug suspect entry points loosely with insulation, paper, or cloth that any animals who may be using the space inside can easily push aside. For a few days, check to see if the material has moved. If not, you can block the opening. 

Make alternative homes available: Now also is a good time to put up bird, bat, or squirrel houses in the appropriate area you would like to watch them raise a family.

Other tips
-Clean up debris: Clean out the leaves and debris from under your porch and window wells: the soft, insulating material is inviting for an expecting mother looking for a den.
- Trees/leaves: Keep branches trimmed six feet away from your house to not only limit access for wildlife, but to prevent damage to the roof that may allow animal entry in the future.
- Compost: Cover and secure compost piles. Never compost meat scraps.
- Trash: Secure trash containers with cords, ropes, or weights, or put trash out the morning of collection, not the night before.

For a list of licensed local rehabilitators click HERE or visit www.michigandnr.com/dlr.
And below are more links to various lists of licensed rehabilitators outside of Michigan—

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