As humans, we do a lot of damage to our animal neighbors. We destroy their homes, kill their family members, and invade their habitats. Luckily, there are little ways that we can make a difference and move closer to living in harmony with animals!
1. Don’t use bird feeders. They encourage birds to become too dependent on humans and will prevent them from migrating or moving away from areas where they are at risk. Bird feeders can also attract rodents, who wind up being poisoned by cruel people who don’t want them around. Dirty bird feeders also cause countless songbirds to die annually from salmonella poisoning! Bird baths are only OK if they are scrubbed daily, to ensure birds aren’t drinking or bathing in feces and salmonella laden water.
2. Do not allow mice and small animals access to your food. This will discourage them from making your home THEIR home. Eliminate access to food by keeping counter surfaces, floors, and cabinets free of crumbs and storing dry food and pet food in chew-proof containers. Seal trash (use bungee cords on lids), pick up your animal companions’ food at night and never feed them outdoors, pick up fallen fruit and vegetables in orchards and gardens if possible, and never feed wildlife.
Reduce hiding places by keeping grass and vegetation trimmed back and by storing outdoor furniture, grills and barbecues, and wood piles away from buildings. Seal holes and cracks that are larger than 1/4-inch wide with foam sealant, hardware cloth, or metal flashing, and store all food in airtight, rodent-proof containers. Also, be sure to keep your trash in sealed, chew-proof containers.
3. If you think you have a little visitor, immediately place peppermint oil–soaked cotton balls and rags throughout the infested areas. (This inexpensive, simple way to repel rodents is quite effective!) If you must trap an occasional rodent, use a cruelty-free live trap that is made for this purpose.
Mice and rats can die from stress-induced disorders, exposure, or dehydration in just a few short hours. Traps should be scrubbed with a mild bleach solution (to eliminate food smells), disabled, and securely stored when not in use—especially during cold weather and times when they cannot be checked hourly!
4. Rinse out all your cans, and then put the tops on the inside (so animals won’t cut their tongues!). Crush the open side of the can as flat as you can.
5. Cut open empty cardboard and plastic containers so that squirrels and other small animals can’t get their faces or heads trapped in them. If you have empty jars, be sure to scrub them out and cap them.
6. Cut apart all sections of plastic six-pack rings, including the inner diamonds. Choose paper bags at the grocery store, or, better yet, take your own reusable canvas bags, which help prevent wildlife habitats from being destroyed.
7. Install discrete decals on windows to make them more visible to birds. When they see the decals, they’ll instinctively avoid the glass. If possible, be sure to place them in the birds’ line of flight from nearby trees and parks. These decals are called “window alert decals” and can be found at wild-bird stores or nature stores. You can also buy them online.
8. Don’t use plastic straws. If you really need a straw, try a metal reusable one instead.
If a bird is trapped inside your house, turn off all indoor lights; close all curtains, blinds, or shutters; and open an outside door.The bird should fly toward the light outside. If the bird does not exit, wait until dark, then open a door and put a light outside it. Turn out all the house lights—the bird should fly out toward the light. Be patient! This usually works.
Making these little changes in your daily life will help save lives! Follow us on Twitter for MORE advice on how to help animals.