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Helping wild mothers during breeding season

Celebrate this Mother’s Day by learning how you can help wild mothers keep their babies safe through the breeding season. Many species of wildlife across British Columbia are welcoming babies, and with a few simple tips, you can make a big difference in helping them succeed.

raccoon mom photo by Katy Thompson
Photo by Katy Thompson

Be mindful while tending to your yard

Many species of animals may make nests or dens near or around your home. By checking for nests and being mindful of the presence of wild animals, you can minimize the risk of accidental injury. When trimming trees or hedges, take care not to disturb bird nests that could initially be hidden from view, and if possible, try to avoid trimming trees between April and August. Eastern cottontail rabbits can nest in shallow grassy depressions in lawns, do a quick check before mowing to avoid injuring them. If clearing brush piles that have built up over winter, do so carefully and gently as animals may have made homes or nests in the piles.

Clean out nest boxes

If you have nest boxes or birdhouses in your yard, it is recommended to clean them out once a year to prevent the spread of disease and discourage the presence of pests that could harm babies. Fully clean boxes and birdhouses before birds return. Many species of birds will not reuse old nests, clearing out debris from the previous season will help them out as they look for new nesting material.

Hummingbird near nest Photo by Michael Schmidt
Photo by Michael Schmidt

Keep companion animals leashed and indoors

Many wild animals are brought to wildlife rehabilitation centres for injuries caused by free-roaming cats or dogs. Before letting your companion animals loose in yards, do a check for wild babies. If a known nest or den is in the area, keep companion animals away from the area to keep babies safe from injury and to reduce stress on wild mothers.

Do not intervene if not necessary

Many wild babies are brought to wildlife rehabilitators due to unnecessary human intervention. Many species of wild mothers may leave their young while they search for food and well-intentioned people may remove the babies thinking they are abandoned. Before intervening if you think a wild baby needs helps, contact your local wildlife rehabilitator or call our Animal Helpline at 1-855-622-7722 for advice. The best place wild babies can be is with their parents!

Wild mothers have a lot of work to do in the breeding season and by incorporating these tips into your routine, you can make a big difference. Let’s celebrate all mothers this Mother’s Day and give them a helping hand!

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