1. Window Strikes
The number one injury to birds is striking windows. It is such a problem that we have devoted a whole section to it. Check out the Bird Saver article!
2. Handle antifreeze safely
Antifreeze is toxic to wildlife as well as domestic pets. It has a very sweet scent and taste so many animals are tempted to sample it. Dispose of antifreeze safely at your local recycling plant. If you must use it, wrap the bottle in an airtight container (e.g. Tupperware or glass) to avoid leaks, and store it on a high shelf in your garage or basement.
3. Look for nests and dens before pruning trees
If a tree must be removed, watch and listen for activity in and around the tree to ensure that it is void of occupants before cutting it down. Whenever possible, avoid removing tress and shrubs in spring and summer, which are the prime nesting and denning seasons. If possible, wait until fall when the nests and dens are no longer in use. Dead trees with cavities are home to many types of wildlife species throughout the year, and are valuable to the ecosystem if left standing.
4. Supervise dogs and cats
Don’t let your dogs and cats run free without being supervised. Most cats carry a bacterium in their saliva called Pasteurella multocida. This bacterium spreads quickly through a wild animal’s system, often causing infection and death within 48 hours. A wild animal that has been bitten by a cat must receive medical attention immediately if it is to survive. It is best to keep cats indoors at all times, for their sake and for wildlife.
5. Get the lead out!
Hunters and anglers can easily prevent lead poisoning. Ecologically sound alternatives, such as tin, bismuth, copper, steel, and tungsten-nickel alloy, are available. When lead fishing sinkers are lost through broken line or other means, water birds can inadvertently ingest them. Birds of prey and raptors get lead poisoning second hand by eating ducks and mammals. When lead ammunition is used in the hunting of large game, and gut piles are left behind or the animal is wounded and dies later, raptors such as eagles can swallow a piece of shrapnel as they scavenge on the remains of the dead animal.
6. Gather fishing line, kite string, and outdoor nets
Prevent accidental injury by retrieving broken mono-filament fishing line and kite string. Wading birds, ducks and geese often are injured every year getting tangled in mono-filament line that is left behind. Birds can fly into soccer and volleyball nets, or kite string left in trees, and become entangled. Accidental injury may be prevented by lowering nets after each use and removing them during the off-season.
7. Install a chimney screen
Prevent your chimney or attic from becoming a nest site. To avoid unwanted visitors and prevent their injury, install a screen over your chimney opening, attic ventilation openings, vent pipes and window fans. Chimneys and attics are often used as nest or den sites by nesting birds. The wire will prevent wildlife from entering your home.
8. Keep bird feeders clean
Keep feeders clean to prevent spread of disease. Keep seed dry and remove old seeds on the ground around your feeder. Seed that becomes wet can become a host for mold and bacteria that can cause birds to become sick.
9. Proper use of pesticides
Spraying lawns with fertilizers and pesticides result in wildlife poisonings every year. Try not to spray at all, and especially not in areas where bird feeders at located. Seeds falling from the feeder may become contaminated from the fertilizers and pesticides. If you have a rodent problem in your building, consider using traps instead of poisons. Many wildlife species can become poisoned if they capture and eat a mouse or rat that has eaten poison. Many thousands of wild animals and pets die a slow, painful death each year due to cosmetic use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and biocides. The only sensible solution is to use none of these products for residential purposes. Buy organically grown and produced products whenever possible.
10. Don’t litter on the road
Every year thousands of raptors and other wild animals are killed by vehicles. Food scraps thrown from your vehicle attracts rodents and other animals. To minimize rodents and road kill please do not throw food from your vehicle while driving.
11. Leave them in peace
Provincial and federal laws try to protect all wild animals. Teach children that we must share this planet with wildlife. Healthy wild animals should be left alone in the wild, including baby animals. Usually their parent is close by or will soon return. It is never a good idea to raise baby wild animals by yourself; not only is it illegal, but the proper diet and development of social and survival skills is necessary. Please see our section on what to do if you find injured or orphaned wildlife.
12. Pay attention while driving
Hitting a wild animal with your car can usually be avoided by simply paying attention. Roads that have woods or shrubs growing near the shoulder are dangerous places for animals, since they may not realize the road is so close. As well, in the winter, many birds flock to roadsides to ingest gravel (to aid in their natural digestion), since other sources of gravel are covered up. Scan the roadside for standing birds and for movement in roadside shrubs that might indicate an animal preparing to emerge. At night, look for the “eye shine” of nocturnal animals near the roadside. One of the best ways to avoid collisions also seems to be the hardest for people when driving cars: Obey the posted speed limit! Speed limits are calculated to allow for reaction time in an emergency situation. Go any faster and you risk not having any time to react. Speeding even a little bit costs the lives of millions of wild animals every year.
13. Swimming Pools
Swimming pools can easily trap baby ducks, geese, reptiles, and amphibians. A low fence around the pool will prevent animals and even children from falling into the pool. Keep the pools cover on when you’re not using the pool to prevent any flying and climbing animals from getting trapped.