Today is Earth Day, a day to celebrate and appreciate this big, beautiful planet we call home. As stewards of our planet, it is our responsibility to care for the wild creatures with whom we share it. Every day wild animals are brought to Tucson Wildlife Center in need of veterinary care and rehabilitation, often suffering from issues that were preventable.
Coexisting with wildlife goes beyond admiring birds and animals from afar. It also means considering how our everyday actions impact wildlife, how we can mitigate damage to their habitats and how we can provide them much-needed support in the wild.
Every wildlife species plays a distinct role in our ecosystem and their habitats are often in our backyards. Reducing our environmental footprint helps to maintain critical wildlife habitats that are disappearing each and every day as a result of expanding human population, new developments and increasing consumption. Celebrate your #EarthDay by helping wildlife!
Stop using poisons – they kill our wildlife and harm our environment
Poisons, like rodenticides used alone or in bait boxes, herbicides, pesticides and other toxins not only directly harm wildlife by poisoning the food chain, they also build up in the soil and contaminate groundwater. Exercise humane alternatives when it comes to protecting your garden and house from unwanted wildlife roommates or intruders. For alternatives, download the following PDF or click here.
Scrub out bird feeders
Last year our Center saw dozens of house finches suffering from an eye ailment called conjunctivitis, which is painful, causes blindness and is a death sentence for birds. Help prevent the spread of this infection by keeping your bird feeders clean. Scrub and disinfect your feeder with dish soap and hot water, rinse well and then scrub again with a 10% bleach solution (1-part bleach to 10-parts water). Rinse again and leave out to dry completely before refilling. Make sure to use a brush to scrub in all corners and dispose of all uneaten seed or particles!
Clean up your neighborhood
Carry a bag with you when you take a stroll around your neighborhood and pick up trash along with way. In addition to being unsightly, trash can harm wildlife who become tangled in it or eat something indigestible. It is advisable to wear gloves or use a tool when picking up trash.
Leash your pets
Whether you see them or not, thousands of wild animals live in your neighborhood. No matter how well behaved your pet, it will be hard for them to resist chasing after a bird flitting low to the ground or a small mammal darting across their path. That’s why it is important to always keep your dog leashed during walks. And, if you want to give your cat an outdoor experience, consider building a “catio” enclosure in your yard.
Wait to do yard work and check for babies
Trimming trees during spring and early summer can be devastating to birds and mammals and their babies, because their nests are often hard to spot. Before pruning trees, mowing your lawn or trimming back weeds, take a walk through your yard looking for nests. Better yet, encourage wildlife habitats by letting your plants grow wild! If you find a baby animal you think needs help, call us at 520-290-WILD (9453) for advice before rescuing.
Create a pollinator garden with native plants.
Create a garden to entice pollinators! One–third of our food is pollinated by birds, bats, bees, moths and other insects. Choose native plants that flower during different times of the year to provide nectar and pollen sources year-round. Adding native trees, bushes and flowers also provide sources for nesting, perching and camouflage!
Build a bat, owl or bird box
Help animals find a safe place to roost by providing them with nesting (and roosting) boxes! It could even be an educational family project to watch and record the winged creatures who use the boxes and raise their young.
- For directions on building an owl box, click here.
- For directions on building a bat box, click here.
- For directions on building a bird box, click here.
Provide a clean, reliable source of water.
It is getting hot out and if you are thirsty, animals are too! Natural and human-made water features, such as ponds and small containers are great for critters in need of hydration. Make sure water sources are shallow or have a ramp, rocks or sloping sides so young birds and mammals can drink without drowning. And, clean them regularly so they don’t get slimey!