The Truth about Feeding Birds & Other Wildlife on Your Property
From backyard birdfeeders to stray cats and curious squirrels, people often can’t resist the urge to feed the wildlife they encounter in backyards, parks and even workplaces.
Unfortunately, many fail to realize that when they set out the buffet for their favorites, they’re is-suing an open invitation to others, whose company can be far less charming.
Many problematic – and destructive – species are opportunistic feeders more than happy to make a meal of wild birdfeed or other snacks.
As more than a few backyard birdwatchers and gardeners have experienced firsthand, squirrels will empty birdfeeders, and rabbits, deer and more squirrels have a habit of making off with your hard-earned produce. But it gets worse: rats and mice also love bird seed along with the animals that prey on them. Want snakes under your bird feeder?
Prevent Winter Wildlife Conflicts
Those are just the best-known of the uninvited diners, and relatively minor consequences. A wide variety of stealthier and less welcome critters are attracted to birdseed, cat and dog food and just about any other available food source, including skunks, possum, raccoons, bears, mice, rats, and voles, especially as winter approaches.
As temperatures fall, your reputation for hospitality can start to get around, and some of these animals may decide that your property looks like a good place to stay over.
With more than two decades of experience as a licensed and certified wildlife control expert, it’s a message RAC owner Rusty Fields has had to deliver many times to homeowners, property managers and office workers – animal conflicts are not limited to raccoons in the attic.
“When you’re feeding wild animals, you’re creating problems and safety issues for yourself, your families and neighbors, your co-workers and employees,” Fields says. “Birds may be nice, but your bird feeder can also attract rodents and other pests.”
Best Practice for Feeding the Wildlife Include: Don’t
If you are landlord, building owner or proper manager, education is a key, if often overlooked, component of your wildlife control strategies. You might be surprised at some of the places that wildlife feeding takes place.
Not long ago, RAC was called out to an office building where employees had been hand-feeding a squirrel. A building tenant called RAC after an employee was bitten. RAC was able to trap the squirrel which, luckily, wasn’t rabid.
Your tenants may find them adorable, but squirrels do not make good office mates and have been known to get very aggressive.
While other rodents, like mice and rats, are less likely to be getting a deliberate handout, they have an excellent sense of where to find the unintentional kind.
Education & Experienced Help for Wildlife Removal
Education can begin with posting flyers in office and apartment building common areas. Best practices also include paying attention to the location and type of bird feeders on your property.
While you can install various devices on bird feeders to deter squirrels, even the best practices won’t entirely solve the pest problem, says Fields. As Montana wildlife control expert Stephen Vantassel wrote on his blog: “Bird feeders that feed animals other than birds are one of the surest ways to ensure that hiring a wildlife control operator is in your future.”
Animals are creative and, when they’re hungry, they’ll do whatever they can to get food.
Properties with outdoor amenities for tenants should also take care to prevent inadvertently inviting problems. Pools, fountains and garbage cans can all attract hungry and thirsty wildlife that can pose a danger to residents or employees.
RAC was called to an office building where it was believed a raccoon was getting into the garbage. It turned out there were seven raccoons, all trapped and removed from the premises by RAC.
Request a Site inspection
Contact us to learn more about ways to protect your property, your tenants or your family members from dangerous, destructive and unhealthy wildlife conflicts. For help with an active wildlife conflict or if you suspect that wildlife has taken up residence in your home, workplace or other commercial building, give us a call right away.
RAC is licensed, certified and experienced in the safe and humane management, prevention and mitigation of wildlife conflicts for commercial, industrial and residential properties.