Yep, that's right, get out your feeders!
December is a great time to dust off those feeders that you stored out of reach of bears all summer and fall. You may have noticed that your trees and shrubs are full of songbirds. They are congregating for the winter because there is safety and warmth in numbers. If you stay still and listen you may hear a chickadee calling out to other birds, announcing a food source.
A couple of tips for good bird viewing in winter:
1. Place feeders away from windows so your feathered friends don't mistake that reflection for endless sky. Dead birds don't make for good viewing.
2. Many bird species love birch seeds. Plant this beautiful tree in your yard and you won't need to invest in feeders.
3. Providing different sizes and varieties of seed will attract a wide range of songbirds to your property.
4. Be patient. It may take them a few days or weeks to find your feeders but they will come (as long as your neighbor doesn't have endless amounts of better seed).
5. Enjoy! This is wildlife viewing at its very best. Pull up a chair, grap a cup of tea ad watch the soap opera unfold at your feeders.
HAPPY BIRD WATCHING EVERYONE!
1. Attractant management is key. Garbage, compost, petroleum products, feed, livestock and food grown in our gardens are all wildlife attractants. Our own mess is the biggest contributor to human-wildlife conflict. Waste management is a shared responsibility. We can make sure attractants are not accessible on our own properties and we can encourage municipalities to create and maintain wildlife friendly waste management systems. Electric fencing is inexpensive, easy to install and saves replacing valuable feed and livestock and prevents destruction of wildlife. Scroll down to find a backyard checklist that will help you manage attractants on your property and information about electric fencing.
2. Keep your distance. Wildlife viewing can be interesting and fun. We are tempted to stop and take photos on the side of the road or even when we encounter an animal along the trail. Please keep your encounters brief and maintain as much distance as possible. Don't get out of your car to take that photo and when you encounter a bear on the trail, back away and tell the bear you are leaving; this is not a good time to take a photo.
3. Don't feed the wildlife! Leaving food out for foxes and other animals is a death sentence for them and asking for trouble for you. Conservation Officers may issue a Dangerous Wildlife Protection Order if they determine that you are not managing attractants on your property appropriately. Scroll down the page for more information about how to make your yard safe.
4. Travel through wilderness areas carefully and consciously. When you are exploring wilderness areas you are likely to encounter animals. Plan on it. Pack all food and cosmetics in bear proof canisters. Cook food far from your sleeping area and don't sleep in clothes you have cooked in. Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
Managing human garbage and other wildlife attractants is the most effective way of reducing human-wildlife conflict. Everyone produces waste at home, at work, every time we purchase a product that is packaged and/or transported. Wastes include garbage, recycling, compost and hazardous materials and all may be attractive to wildlife. Reducing the amount of waste we produce and the number of negative encounters with wildlife both equals savings for tax payers, governments and businesses and helps keep wildlife wild, alive, and contributing their valuable ecosystem services.
In Whitehorse, our municipal government provides waste containers and curbside collection within the city limits and manages the municipal landfill. The Wildlife Act gives Yukon Government the authority to enforce regulations which protect wildlife, including regulations concerning the appropriate storage and disposal of wildlife attractants.
Please check back here over the coming weeks as we populate this page with resources to help individuals, decision makers and governments choose waste management options which are safe for wildlife and humans.
Bears love compost piles because they're full of food. Even if they don't stink, bears like 'em and will get into them, thinking nothing of tearing your carefully constructed composter apart and finding the goods. And if they get a reward the first time they do it, they'll be back!
Nobody likes a food-conditioned bear. They are dangerous and at risk for being needlessly destroyed.
There are two ways that we can think of to deal with this situation.
1. Put an electric fence around your compost pile. One large perimeter electric fence can contain your livestock, feed shed and compost pile all in one. Alternately, a smaller fence can be put up just for your compost pile.
2. BUILD THIS! This is a truly creative solution for those of you who love to make your own compost and don't love to work with electric fencing.
Good luck and happy composting!