Keep the Night Dark and Quiet
Wildlife depends on the daily cycle of light and dark for life-sustaining behaviors such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators. Owls use the cover of darkness to hide them while they hunt – listening for their prey. A bright noisy environment makes it difficult for an owl to use its natural abilities of night vision and excellent hearing to capture prey. For more go to Dark Sky.
If you hunt or fish, be LEAD FREE!
Do not use lead ammunition or fishing tackle. Every year, 16 million birds in the US - many of them bald eagles - are poisoned by lead from bullet fragments when feeding on the remains of a hunter’s kill or ingesting lead fishing weights when feeding on fish. A fragment of lead the size of a grain of rice is enough to kill an eagle. For more go to Lead Poisoning in Wild Birds.
Do No Harm!
Photo of Northern Mockingbirds by
Becky Matsubara [CC BY 2.0]
Photo by Alice Cahill of a domestic cat with a California thrasher that it killed.
Photo (Henk Post, Holland, 2002) of the feather imprint left after a long-eared owl struck the window.
Insects make up a large part of the diet of insectivorous birds, small raptors, and even birds with more diverse diets feed insects to their nestlings for their high protein value. Consuming insects contaminated with pesticides allows a lethal dose of the poison to build up in the bird, killing her and her young. By replacing a traditional lawn with native grasses and clovers, and replacing exotic plants with native ones, your garden will thrive without toxic chemicals and you will save our native pollinators along with your own time and money. For more go to Plant and Create Habitat Gardens.
Do Not Use Rodenticides (rat and mouse poisons) to control rodents!
Poisoned rodents do not die quickly. They return to the wild, weak and sick, where they are easy prey for owls and hawks. Consuming just a few poisoned mice can kill a raptor. Did you know that a family of owls will consume thousands of mice in a year – more than you will kill with poisons? Throw the poisons away and let the hawks and owls do their job! In your home, you can safely use natural repellents like peppermint essential oil, available at hardware stores in small packets for closets and pantries and as a spray for larger areas. Live traps are effective if you relocate the mice a distance from your home. Snap traps are also an option and are more humane than poisons or glue traps. For more go to Raptors Are The Solution.
Keep your cat indoors!
Free-ranging domestic cats kill more than a billion birds each year. This shouldn’t happen. With care and enrichment, cats can adjust to indoor life. And the life of an indoor cat will be longer and healthier without the risk of being attacked by other animals, being hit by a car, contracting a disease, or coming home with ticks and fleas. For more on the impact cats have on the ecosystem, go to Cats Belong Indoors.
Be Careful On The Roads
Many raptors are hit by cars. Owls are most at risk from late fall through early spring when late sunrises and early sunsets put commuters on the roads when nocturnal animals are most active. But collisions with hawks, eagles and vultures occur during the day too. One of the most important things you can do to reduce vehicle-wildlife collisions, is to keep the roadsides free of trash. The scent of food in trash attracts many prey species. And the presence of prey attracts hawks, owls, foxes, opossums and others. So, please do not litter and consider working with a group to adopt a stretch of road and clean up the mess left by others.
Make Your Windows Bird-Safe
Window strikes kill 1 billion birds in the US each year. There are inexpensive, easy-to-use products for windows that can save the lives of many birds - some are transparent to the human eye. Relocating bird feeders to within 3 feet of your windows helps too. For more go to How to Prevent Window Strikes.