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Stay wildlife-wise during spring cleaning

March 19, 2018
Group of wild bird chicks in nest with mouths open chirping
Photo credit: Silke Soellig

Heading outdoors to tidy up in the coming weeks? Now that baby season has started, birds and mammals could be stealthily nesting and denning around your home as we speak! Check out our handy tips for keeping wildlife safe as you ready your yards and gardens for spring:

Trimming trees

When trimming trees and hedges, take care not to disturb any bird nests that could be hidden among the branches. It takes a sharp eye to spot these nests sometimes — hummingbird nests, for instance, can be as tiny as a toonie!

Clearing brush

Close up eye contact shot of cute curious wild mink looking out from rocks
Photo credit: Martin Smart

Use caution when clearing brush piles and picking up any windfall that has accumulated over the winter. These can shelter songbirds as they dart back and forth from feeders and gardens. They can also be good camouflage for a nest, and provide safe travel corridors for rarely-spotted mammals such as mink and shrews.

Mowing lawns

Before mowing tall grass for the first time this season, take a walk around your property. Areas that have been undisturbed up until this point are prime nesting spots for shy cottontail rabbits.

Photo credit: Arsalan Butt

Cottontails dig a shallow depression in the ground where they give birth to their babies, and they rely on grass cover to keep the nest hidden from predators. That first round with the lawnmower can remove this protective shield and even injure the young rabbits.

Repairing holes

When planning small home repairs as part of your spring cleaning, be on the lookout for signs of wildlife. Damage to roof shingles, vents that have come loose or fallen off, or holes in house siding can all indicate that animals like raccoons or squirrels were looking for (and finding!) a safe, cozy place to den.

Wild raccoon family with parent and and two kits on grass in backyard
Photo credit: Katy Thompson

Before making any repairs, check that there are no young animals inside. Should you see an adult animal frantically trying to enter a recently repaired area, remove the repairs immediately and allow the anxious mother to relocate her babies before resuming your work.

Want to attract wildlife to your home? Apart from the sheer enjoyment of nature, there are plenty of benefits to encouraging birds and mammals to visit your yard or garden. Find out how to create wildlife-friendly spaces.

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