Alert birds to windows and glass doors.
Many birds are injured each year from flying into windows or glass doors. Birds fly into glass because they do not perceive it as a solid object and may see reflections of the outside. Remedies for preventing injuries include:
- Place pieces of light-colored string, bird silhouettes or stained-glass ornaments in front of the window to break up the reflective and transparent properties of the glass.
- Keep a light on near the problem window to eliminate reflections.
- Hang a decorative windsock or streamers in front of problem windows to create movement to help ward off birds.
- Place feeders away from windows where accidents are likely to occur.
- During nesting season some birds (robins in particular) will repeatedly attack their own reflections, mistaking the reflection for an intruder. In time this behavior will cease; however, simply covering the reflective object will hasten the process.
- If a bird does hit your window and is unable to fly away, place it in a box or paper bag with air holes and put it in a warm, quiet area for one to two hours. If it is unable to fly away within two hours, take it to the nearest wildlife rehabilitator for medical treatment.
Look for nests before trimming or cutting trees.
If a tree must be removed, watch and listen for activity in and around the tree to ensure that it is void of occupants before cutting it down.
Whenever possible, avoid removing tress and shrubs containing nests in spring and summer, the prime nesting seasons. If possible, wait until fall when the nests are no longer in use. Dead snags with cavities as part of their structure are home to many types of wildlife species throughout the year and are valuable to the ecosystem if left standing. Many birds, such as woodpeckers, kestrels, screech and saw-whet owls are cavity nesters and could inhabit what appears to be an unoccupied tree.
Supervise dogs and cats.
Don't let your dogs and cats run free without being supervised. Most cats carry a bacterium in their saliva called Pasteurella multocida. This bacterium spreads quickly through a bird's system, often causing infection and death within 48 hours. A bird that has been bitten by a cat must receive medical attention immediately if it is to survive.
Get the lead out!
Hunters and anglers can help prevent lead poisoning and teach good stewardship to young hunters and anglers. Ecologically sound alternatives, such as tin, bismuth, copper, steel, and tungsten-nickel alloy, are available.
When lead fishing sinkers are lost through broken line or other means, birds including loons, swans, and ducks can inadvertently eat them. It is estimated that anglers in the US lose or discard 1,000 tons of lead fishing weights annually. This directly contributes to millions of waterfowl dying each year from lead poisoning. Raptors get lead poisoning second hand by eating ducks and mammals. This is why many states are adding laws that restrict the use of lead sinkers.
When lead ammunition is used in the hunting of large game, and gut piles are left behind or the animal is wounded and dies later, raptors such as eagles can swallow a piece of shrapnel as they scavenge on the remains of the dead animal. Lead-shot has been banned from use by waterfowl hunters and alternatives to lead shot are being made available for big game hunting.
Collect fishing line, kite string and outdoor nets.
Prevent accidental injury by retrieving broken monofilament fishing line and kite string. Wading birds, ducks and geese often are injured every year getting tangled in monofilament line that is left behind. Raptors fly into kite string left in trees and becoming entangled.
Owls and other birds may be injured or killed flying into or becoming entangled in soccer and volleyball nets. Accidental injury may be prevented by lowering or furling nets after each use and removing them during the off-season.
Prevent your chimney or attic from becoming a nest site.
To avoid unwanted visitors and prevent their injury, install a screen over your chimney opening, attic ventilation openings, vent pipes and window fans. Chimneys and attics are often used as nesting or roosting sites by nesting birds. Commercial chimney screens may be purchased at most hardware stores or may be constructed using galvanized wire screen. The wire, when well secured, will prevent wildlife from entering your home.
Keep bird feeders clean.
Keep feeders clean to prevent spread of disease. Keep seed dry and remove seed from the ground around your feeder. Seed that becomes wet can become a host for mold and bacteria that can cause birds to become sick.
Proper use of pesticides.
Spraying lawns with fertilizers and pesticides result in bird poisonings every year. Do not spray areas where bird feeders at located. Seeds falling from the feeder may become contaminated from the fertilizers and pesticides. If you have a rodent problem in your building consider using traps instead of poisons. Raptors can become poisoned if they capture and eat a mouse or rat that has eaten poison and left the building.
Do not litter.
Every year thousands of raptors and other wild animals are killed by vehicles. Raptors like to hunt along roadways because the open areas provide good hunting. Food scraps thrown from your vehicle attracts rodents and other animals. To minimize rodents and road kill please do not throw food from your vehicles.
Do not harass or disturb birds.
State and federal laws protect all birds except Rock doves (pigeons), European starlings and European house sparrows. Teach children that we must share this planet with wildlife. Do not destroy nests or use birds for shooting practice.
Discard containers of motor oil and antifreeze.
Birds often fall into these containers and few will survive. Antifreeze is also toxic to wildlife as well as pets.
Leave baby birds in the wild.
As a rule, leave baby birds alone. A parent may be close by or will soon return. Do not raise baby birds by yourself. Not only is it illegal but the proper diet and development of social & survival skills is necessary. Return baby birds found on the ground to the nest. If you find a baby that cannot be returned, contact the nearest wildlife rehabilitator.
For more information call VINS Rehabilitation Department at 802-359-5001 x 212 (everyday 8am-4pm)