CARING FOR WILDLIFE DURING THE WINTER
Winter is challenging for several animals. In addition to the cold temperatures, there's a shortage of food and water. You can make a difference in the lives of local wildlife. A few simple steps can help an animal survive.
Many birds do not fly south for the winter. They’re territorial, and they stay in the same area their entire life. This means if there isn’t adequate food and water, they’ll die. You can ensure their survival by simply placing a bird feeder, or two, in your yard during the winter. Keep it stocked with high fat, high protein food like sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet. Add a water bowl and keep it filled with fresh water, and you’ll not only enjoy some fabulous bird watching this winter, but you’ll also even save their lives.
Rodents play a vital role in the environmental balance. And while you probably don’t want to attract squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and other rodents into your home, you can help them survive the winter. Squirrels enjoy eating nuts, fresh fruits, and veggies. You can place fruit and veggies that are beyond their shelf life on a dish in your yard. You can also scatter corn cobs and other nuts and seeds on the ground to help the local animals survive the winter. If you're trying to keep them out of your bird feeders, providing them with their source of food is a great way to do it.
Ensure that any food you provide local wildlife is kept in a secure and sheltered area. Bird feeders should be sheltered, have a roof to protect them from ice and snow, and be positioned away from potential predators. The same is true for small rodents. Make sure they can access the food you leave them without being vulnerable to their environment.
All animals need fresh water; you can provide it with minimal effort. A heated bird feeder is the easiest way. However, regularly replacing a water dish in the yard will help animals stay hydrated and healthy. When the water freezes, replace the dish with a fresh one. An artificial pond is another way to provide a consistent source of fresh water.
#5 Deer and Other Larger Wildlife
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where you have deer and other wildlife, you can help take care of them this winter too. Like small rodents, deer and many other animals prefer seeds, corn, and fresh fruit. Apples, oats, and acorns are excellent sources of nutrition for deer.
Be forewarned - you may not want to attract some animals to your yard. Many animals, including deer, can become aggressive when competing for food. It’s wonderful to help your animal population survive the winter. However, make sure you’re making intelligent feeding choices for your home and your area.