Living with Wildlife

With the human population continuing to grow, our activities increasingly have an impact on our native animal neighbors. With some helpful tips and easy changes in behavior, we can create positive experiences with and for native wildlife.

The Contra Costa County Fish and Wildlife Committee has published a 16-page booklet called “Wildlife in Your Backyard” that provides information on how to prevent conflicts  with wildlife in urban neighborhoods. 

Keep wild animals wild

Wild animals that are fed by humans may become nuisance animals. Keep your pet food in at night. Wild animals never make good pets and, in California, it is illegal to keep wild animals as pets without proper permits. Screen your attic and basement to keep animals from nesting there.

For more tips, click here.

Pick up fishing lines or hooks

Birds, mammals, and turtles can be seriously injured and die from getting tangled in fishing line or swallowing fishhooks. If you see fishing line on shores or in the water, please pick it up and discard it in the trash.

For more information, click here.

Do not use bird netting near the ground

Loose plastic netting used near the ground can entangle animals. To protect plants, use deer netting or other stiff netting, or wire that has larger mesh.

Prevent bird collisions

In the US, up to one billion birds die from window collisions each year. Birds cannot see glass. Reflections of sky, trees and water can lead birds to collide with windows, resulting in traumatic and sometimes deadly injuries. There are many products that can be placed on windows that can help prevent these collisions. Stripes on windows are more effective than decals as birds may just try to fly around them.

At night, turn off unused room lights and draw shades at home and at the office.

Some of these deaths occur year-round but many occur during the peak spring and fall migrations. Some studies suggest that perhaps as many as half of all migrating birds do not make it back to spring and summer grounds, succumbing to various threats on either end of the journey.

For more information on how to prevent window strikes, click here.

Do not use rat or mouse poison, or sticky traps

Rodents killed with poison may be eaten by other animals that can die of secondary poisoning. Sticky traps ensnare many other animals, including reptiles and small birds. Snap traps are more humane for rodent control and are not likely to harm other animals when  strategically placed. Try to keep these traps in areas outside the reach of unintended creatures such as pets, birds, reptiles, squirrels and other small animals.

For more information about alternatives to toxic rodenticides, click here.

Grow a wildlife-friendly garden

Use compost to enrich your soil and non-toxic or beneficial insects to combat pests. Avoid using pesticides and chemical fertilizers. There are many great resources for planting and maintaining a backyard garden that will attract birds and butterflies, and will provide food and shelter for native animals.

Bay Friendly Gardening
Bay Area Watershed Project

Pests in your garden? Want to know what to plant in the late summer early fall that is native to California? Or maybe you have seen chewing on your irrigation pipes and want to know what animal could be doing this? Whatever the question, we at Lindsay Wildlife want to connect everyone with great resources that can help you live successfully WITH wildlife. Here is a great link from UC Master Gardener Program‘s gardening resources. 

Hummingbird food recipe

  • Boil water first and let cool.
  • Use four parts water with one part sugar. There is no need to add any coloring.
  • Replace every three days.

Clean and sanitize feeder between refills.

Learn more about hummingbirds here.

Keep bird feeders clean

Clean feeders and baths at least weekly, or between seed refills or water changes. Wash them with soap and water, then soak in a 10% bleach solution for 10 minutes. Rinse and let dry. Wood feeders cannot be disinfected properly. Use metal or plastic instead.

Here are a few ways to keep bird feeders clean.

Avoid feeding the ducks

Ducks’ natural diets include aquatic vegetation, insects, and mollusks. The food that people usually give to ducks isn’t good for them, and can cause serious health problems.

Learn more here.

Keep your cat indoors

Despite being well fed, cats will still hunt. Collar bells don’t work. Outdoor cats are exposed to more diseases, need more medical care, and have shorter life spans than indoor cats.

For more information about keeping cats indoors, click here.

Best to prune trees and shrubs during fall

In Northern California and other temperate areas of the United States, some birds and mammals begin nesting in January. The nesting season lasts into August. The safest time to prune is between October and December.

For more information, click here.

Reuse and recycle

There are great resources in the Bay Area to learn how to recycle, reduce, and reuse. All of these efforts help save energy, and preserve the environment and wildlife habitats.