Wildlife Feeding Frenzy Begins

WITH THE start of autumn, a feeding frenzy for wildlife goes into full swing in preparation for their long winter ahead. Deer, turkeys, squirrels, mice and raccoons are among the animal species busy feasting on fallen acorns.

Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States, explains, “Wild animals need to fatten up for winter, whether they are true hibernators like woodchucks (groundhogs), or whether they merely hunker down and remain inactive during cold spells (like Raccoons).

If wild animals don’t go into winter in good condition, their chance of surviving times of minimal food and extreme cold lessen significantly. And, acorns are the hottest item in town. Even deer are leaving shrubs alone this time of year–if they can get their acorn fix.

While this frenzy can sometimes mean frustration for homeowners, the Humane Society has provided some tips for co-existing with the four most common human “side effects” of the season:

Holes in house siding: Woodpeckers drill mightily on house siding, looking for rotted wood and insects beneath. On cedar, this loud sound – and resulting damage – can be alarming.

Solution: Mylar.
Attach Mylar “face” balloons with big eyes, or silver Mylar ribbons, above where the drilling occurs, to scare the birds away.

Holes in the lawn: Squirrels are burying acorns and other nuts in the lawn.

Solution: Do nothing.
These holes are merely cosmetic and do not hurt the lawn.

Garden raids: Small mammals, such as woodchucks and rabbits, may seize the opportunity to nibble on garden vegetables, if the garden is not protected. (Like they haven’t all summer.)

Solution: Mesh.
You can put up a temporary fence to keep these animals at bay.

Porch visitors: People who feed pets outdoors should not be shocked by the appearance of opossums, skunks and others waiting for the free buffet.

Solution: Limit food.
Feed your pets indoors only, or pick up and remove any uneaten food after 20 minutes if offering it outside.