Tag Archives: wildlife

Tips on Preventing Harm to Wildlife this Winter

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Rosalie’s Lilac is a domesticated, spoiled, little baby! The exact opposite of any wild critter! pic:R.T.

From PETA.ORG:

There are many ways in which you can be a wildlife lifesaver, especially during winter. Please share these valuable tips with neighbors and friends so that the birds, mice, opossums, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals whose habitats intersect with ours can be protected from harm:

Cap your chimney.
When birds sit on top of a chimney for warmth, they can be overcome by fumes, which can cause them to fall in and die.
Never use smoke or fire to drive animals out of chimneys. This will almost certainly kill young animals who are not physically able to leave on their own. Once animals have left, seal all points of entry with a foam sealant or hardware cloth. This must be done in the fall or winter to keep immobile babies—born in warmer months—from becoming trapped! If you accidentally seal an animal inside, reopen the hole and allow him or her to leave.

Repair and seal attic openings. If raccoons have already taken up residence in unwanted areas, evict them by placing ammonia-soaked rags or mothballs into the affected areas (animals can’t stand the smell and will leave).

Make your property “undesirable.” (Note: Bird feeders and fish ponds are direct invitations.) Put out garbage only on the day that it will be picked up, and keep it in tightly sealed containers. Also, feed companion animals indoors, and if you do place any food outside, be sure to remove it when the animals are finished eating.

Deny mice and rats access to food in your home. This is the best way to discourage them from taking up residence. Seal holes and cracks that are larger than ¼-inch wide, and store all food in airtight, rodent-proof containers. If you think you have a little visitor, immediately place peppermint oil–soaked cotton balls and rags throughout infested areas.

Keep all garbage in tightly sealed, chew-proof containers.
Rinse out tin cans, put the tops inside so that they can’t slice a tongue, and crush the open end of the cans as flat as possible.

Cut open empty cardboard and plastic containers so that squirrels and other small animals can’t get their faces or heads trapped in them. We have seen so many animals with their heads caught in containers—it would break your heart.

Cut apart all sections of plastic six-pack rings, including the inner diamonds.

Place stickers on your windows to prevent birds from flying into them.

Go, Edith, go!!!

One Last Hurrah!

By Edith Morgan
 
We are very lucky to live in a zone that has four seasons – each brings its joys as well as its challenges. So now we face another autumn.

Already, we are having cooler nights, and the grass grows more slowly.  The ever blooming roses are gearing up for their final blooming of this year, and soon we will begin to see whatever maples are left after the depredations of the Asian Longhorned beetles, breaking out in magnificent reds, golds, yellows, and finally dropping their leaves in preparation for the winter.

It’s a time for enjoying what we here call “Indian Summer,” a time when tourists from far and wide make pilgrimages to New England just to admire the colors on display along the highways and in our parks.

For those of us who live here year around, it is a time to take a final jaunt through our parks, enjoy our porches, and do some preparing for the coming seasons.  A final clean-up will be done by the City to pick up debris that has cluttered out sidewalks and streets (mostly leaves, I hope – but there will also be swept up with the leaves an assortment of trash thrown about by the careless and the lazy). And we homeowners will be looking for mulch to cover and protect our perennials, rakes to gather the leaves and wilted blades left over from the flowering bulbs of spring. 

We will make sure that our bird feeders are in place and filled for the birds that winter over, and we will plan to continue feeding some of the wildlife that frequents our yards all summer. 

This year the Jewish New Year falls within a week or so of the formal beginning of fall – so for all our Jewish friends, it’s a double celebration – beginning a new year ( #5776) while at the same time welcoming the coming of a new season.

And of course it is apple-picking time: the symbol used for the New Year in the Jewish religion here is a slice of fresh apple, signifying a round, full year – with honey drizzled over it, to wish others a sweet year.

Worcester is surrounded by apple orchards, offering many varieties that you can pick yourself, or buy by the bag or bushel. Apples keep a long time, and are so very good in pies, sauce, dried, or as juice.  Remember the old saying about “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? There was a lot of truth to that old belief: apples eaten fresh provide so many benefits to us all at all ages, it seems foolish not to take advantage of this bountiful natural product every day. I see that our schools and even McDonald’s have rediscovered the wonders of this marvelous fruit. And of course it is deeply ensconced in America: remember our saying about ”It’s as American as the flag, motherhood and APPLE PIE”!

So, let’s all get out and enjoy the fruits of the season, and prepare for the seasons to come!

What to do if you spot wildlife babies this spring

Reposting …      R. T.

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

Chances are good this spring that many of us will encounter young wildlife. It can be difficult to resist the temptation to scoop up a vulnerable-looking fledgling bird or squirrel pup, but well-meaning people often hurt—rather than help—animals’ chances for survival by “rescuing” baby animals who are perfectly fine and whose parents are foraging for food nearby.

Baby birds often turn up in backyards. If you see a bird on the ground with a half-inch or more of tail feathers, the bird is a fledgling who is learning to fly, and his or her parents are likely keeping a watchful eye from nearby. Leave the fledgling alone, unless the bird is in a dangerous area or there is a cat or dog nearby—in which case, place the bird on the lowest branch of a tree or shrub.

Featherless birds are nestlings and cannot fly. Place them back in the nest, if you can reach it, or make a new one from a berry basket or other small container with holes punched in the bottom and filled with shredded tissue. Hang it in a sheltered spot near the original nest, and watch for the parents to return. Don’t worry—parent birds will not reject their babies because a human has touched them. Birds have a poor sense of smell and are more likely to be bothered by human noises than human scents.

Young squirrels are often found after their nest has been blown down by a storm.. The best way to reunite them with their mother is to place the babies in a box containing a hot-water bottle at the base of a tree. The mother will usually retrieve her young and move them to a safer location, but only if she feels safe—so be sure to stay away from the box and keep dogs, cats and children away, too.

People who see a solitary fawn or a nest of rabbits without their mother nearby often mistakenly assume that the animals have been orphaned. But mother deer nurse and attend to their young only a few times per day, and fawns spend most of their time alone—quiet and almost motionless—in open fields. Similarly, mother cottontail rabbits usually visit their nests to feed their young only twice a day, at dawn and dusk, because it decreases the chance of alerting predators to the nest’s location. If you don’t know whether the mother will come back, try placing a string over the nest. If the string has been moved by the following morning, the mother has returned.

If you find a baby animal who is clearly injured (e.g., has a broken wing or leg, is bleeding or is unconscious); has been caught by a cat, dog or other predator; is weak and shivering or emaciated; is in immediate danger; and/or is definitely orphaned and not being cared for, place the animal in a safe, warm, well-ventilated, newspaper-lined box and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately. Never try to care for injured or orphaned wildlife yourself. In most cases, it’s against the law to keep wild animals without the required permits, even if you plan to return them to nature. Attempting to raise wildlife yourself will likely result in frustration and sadness—baby animals require specialized care and do not fare well when raised by humans.

When it comes to baby animals—and wildlife in general—a hands-off approach is often the best one. Knowing when to take action and when not to interfere makes all the difference and can save a life.

For the birds!

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Chef Joey loves feeding everybody – including the birds!

From Chef Joey:

Feeding the birds is cathartic and it provides a beautiful background setting. Just look out your window and enjoy the loveliness! February is National Bird Feeding Month and, believe it or not, peanuts are a great way to get even more birds into your back yard!

Blue Jays automatically know when there are peanuts in the shell! BOOM! They are there! Of course, setting out bird feeders is an open invitation to squirrels, too, but there are bird feeders out there that dispense peanuts and are squirrel-proof!

Make sure your peanuts are unsalted!

Be consistent, and soon you will see other birds in addition to the Blue Jays. Fine feathered friends like … woodpeckers, cardinals, sparrows, finches and chickadees!

Make sure you keep your feeders clean. As with dampness, mold can form on them. As harmful as mold is to humans, it is the same for our feathered friends!

Suet feeders near a window also create a beautiful nature-scape and are very inexpensive. I have a red crested woodpecker that adores my feeder and he dines there quite often!

This time of year is crucial for these little guys – so spend a little and enjoy a lot!

You can go online and have a bird guessing contest with your family. It’s fun and you may learn something new!

From PETA.ORG:

Give wildlife a boost. While it’s best to provide natural sources of food and shelter for birds by planting flowers and trees that produce seeds and berries, birds may need an extra boost during the winter, when they are burning extra calories to keep warm.

Use a blend of seeds that includes oiled sunflower seeds, which are high in calories.

Remember to stop the feeding when the weather warms up. An artificial food source causes wild animals to congregate in unnaturally large numbers in areas where they may be welcomed by some, but not others, and it can also make them easy targets for predators. Eventually, they may lose their ability to forage for food on their own entirely.

If you venture out to feed the ducks at a nearby pond or the gulls at the beach, do not feed them bread or corn. These foods don’t have enough nutritional value for wintertime eating. The best thing to feed ducks and gulls during the winter is dry dog or cat food. The birds love it! And the fat in it will help them stay warm, as well as replenish the water-repellent oil in their feathers.

Go, President Obama, go!!!!

From The New York Times.  – R.T.

Obama Will Move to Protect Vast Arctic Habitat in Alaska

By CORAL DAVENPORT

WASHINGTON — President Obama will ask Congress to increase environmental protections for millions of acres of pristine animal habitat in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, in a move that has already led to fierce opposition from the state’s Republican lawmakers.

The White House announced Sunday that Mr. Obama would ask Congress to designate 12 million of the refuge’s 19 million acres as wilderness. The wilderness designation is the strongest level of federal protection afforded to public lands, and would forbid a range of activity that includes drilling for oil and gas and construction of roads.

If the proposal is enacted, the area would be the largest wilderness designation since Congress passed the Wilderness Act over 50 years ago. But the proposal seems unlikely to find support in Congress.

“Designating vast areas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness reflects the significance this landscape holds for America and its wildlife,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement. “Just like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of our nation’s crown jewels, and we have an obligation to preserve this spectacular place for generations to come.”

The White House proposal was first reported Sunday by The Washington Post.

The Arctic refuge is home to a vast and diverse array of wildlife, including caribou, polar bears, gray wolves and musk oxen. …

CLICK HERE to read entire story.

The Old Injun Fighter and his chipmunks …and Tips on how to prevent harm to wildlife this winter

By Rosalie Tirella

Chipmunks? They have the cutest outfits! Every year the Old Injun Fighter adopts a special chipmunk he finds hanging around his West Side home.

Standing by his big red dump truck in his driveway, after work, he’ll snack on sharp cheddar cheese and a few bottles of Bass ale and throw stale muffin crumbs to the chimpmunks and catbirds, robbins, sparrows and blue jays in his backyard. They quickly get into his routine; as soon as he shuts his back door and comes out with everyone’s snack, the chipmunks scamper before him, and the birds start to sing and fly about him, sometimes fluttering inches before his craggy face!  A beautiful sight to see!

Every year the OIF tames down a critter.  One year it was a baby squirrel who grew up to learn to walk into his home for a peanut. (The OIF had a pal whose tamed-down squirrel went straight to her refrigerator in her kitchen demanding his treats!)

Every year the OIF gets tragically attached to a chipmunk. Every late afternoon in springtime, very solemnly, he throws his chipmunk stale corn muffin crumbs and drinks his beer as he watches his teeny friend – just a few feet away –  eat a bit of his goody, then run away with it in his little mouth, sensing all the other critters coveting it. The OIF watches the little chipmunk eat with an unsmiling, grave face, but you know he is secretly thinking: DAMN! THIS CHIPMUNK IS ADORABLE! His special chimpmunk snacks with him every day, soon sprouting a little pot belly – just like the OIF’s!  They are two cute little guys, all right! And season after season, the OIF always names his special little chipmunk –  the chosen one –  “Chippy”!

Then the tragic day arrives … you go to visit the OIF. He looks forlorn.

You ask: What’s wrong?

He says: I found Chippy in the gutter.

In the street. Right outside his house.  Run over.  Too tame for his own good … Chippy bloody, his delicate bones crushed. His season in the sun over.

The OIF to Rose: Now why did they have to go and do that?

Rose, trying to be helpful: Maybe they didn’t see Chippy. Chipmunks are so small.

The OIF: I hate people.

Rose, to herself: I LOVE YOU.

Anyways, from PETA.ORG … here’s how to get along with all the cute woodland creatures who may end up at your shack this winter, seeking warmth, food and a little respite from the cold!

***********

There are many ways in which you can be a lifesaver, especially as winter approaches. Please share these valuable tips with neighbors and friends so that the birds, mice, opossums, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals whose habitats intersect with ours can be protected from harm:

Cap your chimney. When birds sit on top of a chimney for warmth, they can be overcome by fumes, which can cause them to fall in and die.
Never use smoke or fire to drive animals out of chimneys. This will almost certainly kill young animals who are not physically able to leave on their own. Once animals have left, seal all points of entry with a foam sealant or hardware cloth. This must be done in the fall or winter to keep immobile babies—born in warmer months—from becoming trapped! If you accidentally seal an animal inside, reopen the hole and allow him or her to leave.

Repair and seal attic openings. If raccoons have already taken up residence in unwanted areas, evict them by placing ammonia-soaked rags or mothballs into the affected areas (animals can’t stand the smell and will leave).

Make your property “undesirable.” (Note: Bird feeders and fish ponds are direct invitations.) Put out garbage only on the day that it will be picked up, and keep it in tightly sealed containers. Also, feed companion animals indoors, and if you do place any food outside, be sure to remove it when the animals are finished eating.

Deny mice and rats access to food in your home. This is the best way to discourage them from taking up residence. Seal holes and cracks that are larger than ¼-inch wide, and store all food in airtight, rodent-proof containers. If you think you have a little visitor, immediately place peppermint oil–soaked cotton balls and rags throughout infested areas.
Keep all garbage in tightly sealed, chew-proof containers …

Read more: http://prime.peta.org/2014/12/tips-preventing-harm-wildlife-2#ixzz3LPKAEywl

Deal kindly with uninvited house-guests!

By Paula Moore

Early this morning, I was awakened by a sound that no homeowner wants to hear: chewing. Something, or rather someone, was in the attic, noisily munching away.

Although it can be unsettling to realize that you’re sharing your home with a family of squirrels or mice, we can’t really blame these animals for seeking shelter when snow and ice (or the dog days of summer) descend. After all, animals want the same things we do: food, a safe place to raise a family and a cozy spot to sleep. We can—and should—deal kindly with such uninvited guests.

The first step is to grab a flashlight and try to determine where and how animals are entering your home. Thoroughly inspect your attic and eaves to find openings where squirrels can enter and exit. Look for cracks in the foundation, gaps around doors left by worn weather stripping or spots where cables run through walls—all of which look like an open door to a rat or mouse. Mice can squeeze through holes as small as a dime!

Next, encourage the animals to move out on their own by making your home inhospitable. Eliminate food sources by keeping counters and floors free of crumbs and storing food in chew-proof containers. Seal trash containers (use bungee cords on lids), pick up your animal companions’ food at night and never feed them outdoors. Eliminate hiding places by keeping grass and vegetation trimmed back and stacking firewood away from buildings. Trim overhanging tree limbs to prevent easy access to your roof.To encourage a speedy evacuation, keep a radio on around the clock, leave on a bright light and/or set out rags or cotton balls soaked in ammonia (which smells as bad to squirrels, mice and rats as it does to us) in areas that animals frequent. Wait until the breeding season has ended before sealing up any holes so that you don’t inadvertently trap baby squirrels inside.

Once the animals have moved on, seal the entry points using foam sealant, steel wool, hardware cloth or metal flashing. If any squirrels remain, you’ll know, because a mother squirrel will frantically attempt to regain entry if her youngsters have been sealed inside. Just reopen the hole to allow them to leave. Mice and rats can be caught in a humane trap during mild weather. Just escort them to a nearby field or wooded area. Don’t take them farther than a block, though, or they’ll have trouble finding food and shelter. If it’s very cold outside or the ground is covered with snow, wait for milder weather.

Whatever you do, don’t resort to cruel glue traps or poisons. Animals caught in glue traps struggle mightily, tearing flesh, breaking bones and becoming more entangled in the adhesive, only to die from shock, dehydration or asphyxiation. Both poisons and glue traps can cause animals to suffer for days before finally dying.

Lethal methods also backfire. When individuals are killed off, the sudden spike in the food supply prompts the remaining animals and any newcomers to breed at an accelerated rate. The only effective solution is to seal entry points and eliminate animals’ food sources.

Several years ago, author Gregg Levoy wrote an essay in The Washington Post explaining his decision to live in harmony with his wild neighbors: “I cannot shake the feeling that somewhere there is a tally being kept of these things—my cruelties, my compassions—and that it will make a difference somewhere down the line when I go to cash in my chips. Besides, there is a slight question, in my mind, of relativity. Who is the pest here, me or the mouse?” We humans encroach upon animals’ homes daily with our housing developments and strip malls. The least we can do is show them a little kindness when they inadvertently encroach upon ours.

Refuges under fire

By Jennifer O’Connor

World War II veterans turned away from national monuments. Loans unapproved. Offices shuttered. Hunters barred from killing on public lands. Guess who voiced some of the loudest complaints about the effects of the government shutdown?

It may be hard to believe or understand, but carrying high-powered weaponry and killing animals in our country’s national wildlife “refuges” is not only allowed—it’s encouraged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The very same elk that tourists travel thousands of miles to see are sitting ducks. Bears may as well have a target on their back.

Even though hunters already have 150 million acres of public land on which to shoot and kill animals, just last year, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act.” This bill would have opened even more federal land (including national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite) to hunting, exempted decisions on hunting and fishing from environmental review, allowed dead polar bear “trophies” to be imported from Canada and prevented the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating ammunition that contains toxic lead. The bill failed in the Senate by a narrow margin, but it has been reintroduced for another go-round.

Why are hunters allowed to brandish guns and razor-tipped bows on our public lands and wilderness areas in the first place? This surely isn’t what President Franklin D. Roosevelt—a hunter, no less—had in mind when he created the first official refuges in 1940, where it would be “unlawful to hunt, trap, capture, willfully disturb, or kill any bird or wild animal.”

In an absurd line of reasoning that would be laughable if it wasn’t so perverse, hunters claim to “conserve” wildlife by killing it. Oxymoron aside, animals have been managing themselves without human interference for millennia. If left alone, the balance of nature’s ecosystems ensures the survival of most species. Natural predators help maintain this balance by killing only the sickest and weakest individuals. But most hunters target the biggest and strongest, perhaps hoping that the dead animal’s head hung over a fireplace will somehow reflect their own prowess.

Tree blinds, bait, scopes, calls, infrared sights, lures, night-vision binoculars, camouflage tents, urine scents with names like “Hot Estrus Doe”—all the paraphernalia designed to give hunters the advantage—show just how far removed they are from a fair “fight.” They lie in wait, sometimes leaving piles of corn or apples to draw animals to them. Others don’t even bother getting out of their trucks, using powerful spotlights to blind and immobilize their prey. And the prepackaged slaughters known as “canned hunts,” during which semi-tame animals are fenced in and blasted when they get cornered, are so outrageous that even some hunters condemn them. Of course, not every animal who is shot dies outright. Many are grievously wounded and left to die slowly of blood loss, starvation or gangrene.

Americans are rightly appalled when shooters open fire on naval bases and in movie theaters. We should be equally outraged that our nation’s wild areas, which are meant to be safe havens for visitors and residents alike, have been turned into war zones by a small group of people who think that killing is an acceptable pastime.

Groundbreaking investigation reveals gruesome lobster slaughter in Maine!

By Dan Paden

If you’ve ever boiled lobsters alive in your kitchen, you’ve no doubt experienced that moment when, in the words of the late David Foster Wallace, “some uncomfortable things start to happen.” After the water heats up and you drop the lobster in the pot, the hapless animal may latch onto the rim for dear life. Once you finally get the lobster fully submerged, you’re confronted with the clanking of the lid as the lobster tries to push it off, followed by the deeply discomforting sound of the animal’s claws frantically scraping the sides of the pot. “The lobster, in other words, behaves very much as you or I would behave if we were plunged into boiling water …,” wrote Wallace.

No wonder many people opt for frozen instead. The “uncomfortable things” happen someplace else, and we don’t have to think about them as we drop the neat plastic packages of lobster meat into our shopping carts. But I urge you to think about them, at least for the next few minutes. You just might decide that the fleeting taste of a lobster’s flesh is not worth the violence that is routinely inflicted upon these animals.

Earlier this year, PETA captured video footage inside a Rockland, Maine, crustacean slaughterhouse that supplies retailers across the country. The footage shows live lobsters and crabs as they are being ripped apart and crabs being boiled alive. Workers tear off live lobsters’ claws before shoving the animals into a metal tool that punctures their shells. The lobsters’ heads are also ripped from their bodies, tossed onto a conveyor belt and dropped into bins-where their antennae continue to move long after their bodies have been mutilated.

Lobsters do not have a centralized nervous system but instead have ganglia, or masses of nervous tissue, spread throughout their bodies, so they do not die quickly even if their brains are destroyed. Studies have found that a lobster’s nervous system continues to function even after the animal is dismembered.

One worker said that the mutilated lobsters “don’t die right away. I mean, they’ll live for hours.”

PETA’s video also shows workers at this facility slam live crabs onto spikes to break off their top shells and shove the animals’ exposed organs and flesh against rapidly spinning brushes. The crabs-still alive-are then tossed onto a conveyor belt and dumped into boiling water.

These animals are not unfeeling automatons. Recent research has shown that crabs are capable of learning and remembering information, just like other animals. If left alone, lobsters can live to be more than 100 years old. They use complicated signals to establish social relationships and can recognize individuals.

Experiments on crabs and prawns conducted by Dr. Robert W. Elwood, a professor of animal behavior at Queen’s University Belfast, have demonstrated that crustaceans can feel pain. Similarly, in 2005, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that crustaceans are capable of experiencing pain and distress and recommended that steps be taken to lessen their suffering when possible.

We live in a changing world, one in which animals are afforded considerations that they might have been denied in the past. If we’re honest, we must admit that it matters little to the animals whether they are cruelly killed behind the closed doors of a commercial slaughterhouse or if we kill them ourselves, right there in our own kitchens. Lobsters and crabs can feel pain and they do not want to die. And the only way to make sure that we’re not contributing to their suffering is to stop eating them.