How to Support Wildlife as the Seasons Change

How to Support Wildlife as the Seasons Change

By Think Wild Board Member, Dr. Debra Merskin

adult raccoon walking through a grassy lawn
Raccoons begin searching for nesting sites in early spring

Now that summer is coming to its end, it is a good time to think about preparing our homes and yards for winter, and even spring! Fall is a time when we start closing things up and locking them off in advance of cold temperatures and potentially inclement weather. However, did you know you can prevent wildlife from taking up residence under porches and decks, in outbuildings and sheds now, before baby season arrives once again? 

Bird and animal parents start scoping out potential birthing and nesting sites pretty early in the spring. The best way to prevent many of our native wildlife from setting up their nurseries under decks, inside sheds and attics is to think ahead. While it might seem strange to be thinking about spring when it’s only fall, once winter is here it is easy to put off projects because the weather outside isn’t nice. Before we know it, spring arrives, and wildlife parents are figuring out ideal spots to raise their families. 

Some things that you can do now and throughout the coming seasons include:

black hardware cloth under the bottom rails of a deck
Hardware cloth can be used to block off possible entry points for wildlife
  • Make sure there is no exposed trash and use bungee cords to secure trash lids.
  • Feed pets during the day or inside. Do not leave food out overnight – pet food is a huge attractant for wildlife.
  • Near buildings, minimize shelters for wildlife to hide in by cleaning up debris piles, trimming low hanging vegetation, and putting 1/4″ or 1/2″ inch hardware cloth around outbuildings and exposed holes.
  • Consider removing bird feeders or making sure no seed is falling on the ground for animals to eat.
  • Visually scan decks, patios, eves, awnings, and any potential entrances to your house where momma raccoons, squirrels, skunks, or birds might want to make nests. 
  • If you’ve had flickers or other nesting birds poking around your house looking for space in the spring, now is a good time to consider installing nest boxes. Also, to deter wildlife from making nests in your home, cover any potential entrances with wire mesh or netting and ensure the chimney flue is closed before nesting begins.
a nest box for a northern flicker attached to a gray house
Nest boxes offer wildlife more appropriate nesting sites than your attic

Think Wild’s Humane Wildlife Services can advise and provide services that are inexpensive, long-lasting, humane, environmentally friendly, and safe ways to prevent human and wildlife conflicts. There are no pest control companies in Central Oregon that exclusively offer non-lethal, humane exclusion options. If a predatory animal, like a raccoon, skunk, or beaver, is removed, they must be euthanized. Trapping, removal, and euthanasia from local pest control companies can cost upwards of $300 per animal, and it is not a permanent solution. Think Wild’s Site visits and installations start at $80 – get in touch for a full quote!

autumn leaves on the ground
Decomposing leaves and other plant matter provide food and habitat for wildlife

We also recommend leaving your leaves this year! Fallen leaves and yard debris provide habitat and food for butterflies, bees, beetles, butterflies, and more. Decomposing leaves will also improve your soil quality, structure, and water retention. If there are safe spots away from buildings, you can also combine leaves with sticks branches to create brush piles that provide shelter and nursing habitat for young animals. While it might appear a bit messy at first, you’ll be doing the planet a favor by letting nature use these materials and setting an example of wildlife friendly habitat for your neighbors to see. 

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation or installation, please reach out to us by filling out a Wildlife Services request form