Make Your Yard Wildlife Friendly

At summer’s peak, the climate across most of the northern hemisphere is hot. The high temperature dries up many of the usually accessible sources of food and water that birds and other wildlife are accustomed to eating.  These animals often have to work harder or travel greater distances to forage for something to eat.  In an effort to aid the local wildlife during this time of year, many people choose put out feed for wildlife, as well as bird-specific feeders and baths.

It is a debated question as to whether birds and wildlife would survive without human assistance during the summer months.  The same question applies to the harsh months of winter too.  Birds and other wildlife have fended successfully for themselves long before providing a feeder became a popular enterprise. Their existence really is not dependent on people, except in areas where habitat destruction has made it more difficult for some species of birds and wildlife to survive.  In these instances, human intervention makes a difference. 

Cleaning Your Bird Feeder
Should you begin to feed wild birds or animals, it is important that you provide good quality food.  Because feeders are more prone to develop and breed bacteria during the warm summer months, owners should regularly clean the feeders at least once a week.   Completely empty the feeder, clean it with mild soap and water and rinse thoroughly.  There are special brushes you can buy that clean the harder to reach areas.  Before refilling the feeder, make sure it is completely dry to prevent food from becoming wet and developing mold. 

Bird Baths Maintenance
Bird baths provide the winged visitors to your yard not only a place to bathe, but also to get a drink of water.  You will notice more visitors at the hottest time of the day, when water is more difficult to find and the birds need it the most.  It is important to keep the bird bath filled and positioned in the shade so the water does not get too hot.   Bird baths should be washed at least weekly, and more often if the water becomes dirty or algae begins to form.  This includes emptying all the water and using a brush to scrub the bottom and sides.  A mild soap solution can be used.  Be sure to thoroughly rinse the bird bath before filling it with fresh water. 

Feeder and Bath Placement
When considering where to place a bird bath or hang a feeder, chose locations without a lot of shrubbery or other objects for cats to hide behind.  If well concealed, cats will wait patiently for the right moment to pounce on a bird.  Putting a breakaway collar with a small bell attached on any outdoor cat will help to alert birds that a predator is lurking nearby.  Feeders should be at least four feet off the ground and any grass below the feeder should be kept moved to discouragerats and mice from grabbing the seed that falls on the ground.  

Squirrel Tips
Keeping squirrels out of a bird feeder is a significant challenge.  While there are a number of products that can be purchased online or in a pet supply store to discourage squirrels from stealing all the birdseed, they are determined and inventive creatures.  There are special feeders made for squirrels, however.  Filling several of these specific feeders with corn can help keep the squirrels away from the bird feeders

On those lazy days of summer, spend part of it enjoying the birds and wildlife that share your neighborhood.  Your invited dinner guests will undoubtedly appreciate the free meal, drink of water and a cooling bath.

This SPCA International article is intended to help further your understanding of your animal's needs. We understand yourunique bond with your pet and it is our pleasure to help you look after its welfare. Thanks to your continued support, SPCA International is able to provide you and countless others with important news regarding the safety of your pets. Thank you again for your donations – every little bit helps!
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