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Wildlife Questions and Answers

Q. What do I do if a bat enters my house?

A. A flying bat will usually leave on its own. The best approach is to open all outside doors and windows and to turn off the lights. Above all else, don't panic.

Remember, bats are protected under the BC Wildlife Act and cannot be killed. They play an important role in controlling insects.

Q. Do bats carry rabies?

A. Although a small percentage of bats (estimates range from 0.5% to 3%) carry rabies, this does represent a risk to anyone handling bats. If it become necessary to handle a bat, wear leather gloves and use a pillow case as a net. If you ever have any concern, or are exposed to a bat, please call the human health department.

Q. Birds keep hitting my window. What can I do?

A. Hitting the windows occurs because the birds are

  1. acting territorial
  2. showing aggression to their reflection in the window, or
  3. the reflection seems to be a continuation of their environment.

Try covering the window with newspapers for a few days, or hang a blackplastic bag cut into ribbons to wave in the breeze, or put a silhouette of a hawk on the window. A blind on the outside of the window for a few days would work just as well, eliminating any reflection that could be seen by the birds.

Q. I have pigeons on my balcony. What can I do?

A. Try a screen, a sheet of plastic on the balcony railing or a picture or a statue of a hawk. You might also try a wire stretched tautly across the top of the railing. This would discourage birds that try to land on the railing. You might place a chicken egg in a nest, which leads the bird to believe that another birds has taken over.

Q. How do I catch an injured bird?

A. Use a towel or blanket. If you're afraid, use gloves as well.

Q. How do I transport the bird to a centre or the vet?

A. Transport in a well ventilated box. Do not place in your trunk or leave in a vehicle with the windows closed. Keep contact with the bird to a minimum to eliminate stress.

Q. Will small birds bite?

A. Possibly, they're frightened, but it would be no big deal as the bird cannot hurt you badly. Exceptions are seagulls, crows and ravens.

Q. Will it give me lice?

A. This is doubtful. Lice on the larger birds may transfer to you, but will not live any longer than fourteen hours.

Q. Can I get some diseases from the bird?

A. Yes, it is important after handling any bird to wash your hands.

Q. Should I return a baby bird or animal that I find on the ground to the nest?

A. Yes, unless it is injured, cold or wet. However, watch from a discreet distance to be sure the parent accepts it. Don't alarm the parent more than necessary. Be aware that some animals reject their young because of physical deformities.

Q. If I have handled it, will the parent take the bird back?

A. Yes, usually the parent bird has a strong maternal instinct. Give it a chance to raise its own baby.

Q. My child found a bird and wants to raise it. Can you tell me what we should feed it?

A. If it is not possible to return the bird to the nest, we encourage you to take it to the nearest rehabilitation centre, so that it will have a greater chance of survival. Proper nutrition and an immense amount of time is involved. Imprinting of the animal sentences it to a lifetime of confinement.

Q. What is your formula for hummingbirds?

A. 3 parts water, 1 part sugar and a pinch of raspberry Jell-O

Q. Is it safe to raise an orphaned raccoon?

A. No. Raccoons, in many cases, carry roundworm which can be very harmful or potentially fatal, especially to your children. The best place for any young wild animals is with it's mother.

Q. What can I do to discourage raccoons from being on my property?

A. Usually raccoons are on your property for a reason. Most times you or your neighbor are feeding your cat or dog outside, where the raccoons can join in. Also composts and garbages which are not raccoon proof will encourage these animals to visit. To discourage raccoons on your property, eliminate the food source and plug holes to your basement, attic or sheds.

Q. There are pesky woodpeckers on my property What can I do to discourage them?

A. It is sometimes difficult to discourage feeding behaviors in woodpeckers. You could try setting up feeding stations away from the area. Use suet, grapes, peanut butter and/or hard boiled eggs mixed with suet for feed. Territorial behaviors such as banging on a metal object is only temporary and will stop after a while. It's only a matter of waiting it out or moving the object.

Q. Do birds carry salmonella?

A. Some birds carry salmonella without showing any symptoms. Therefore it is a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any bird. In the winter time, birds can be exposed to salmonella from other birds at feeders. Therefore, it isimportant to ROUTINELY wash your feeders with bleach and water. Wear gloves while doing this. Be sure to remove feces on feeders and the ground. Pick up any dead birds with a plastic bag, burn or double bag and bury them Is also a good idea to periodically discard old or wet seeds in feeders in order to reduce the chance of exposing birds to fungal infections.

Water is one of the essential elements most often forgotten by back yard Wildlife managers. It does not have to be elaborate, but it does need to be constant. In the winter, break the ice or use a water heater, in the summer the water should be changed at least twice a day to keep it fresh. Scrub the drinking pool at least twice a week with a stiff brush to remove scum and algae build up.


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