Coexisting With Wildlife

While wild animals may cause an inconvenience for homeowners, they mean no harm. There are humane ways to deter wildlife from causing an issue on your property. Click the links below for information.

 

Please note, it is illegal to trap & relocate any mammal in New York without a license. Additionally, animals that are relocated with good intentions to "a safer area" are at an extreme disadvantage. They must compete for food, shelter, and other resources. They will often have to fight for territory with other members of their species in this new environment. 

Raccoons   Opossums    Squirrels   Rodents   Songbirds   Woodpeckers    Ducks    Hawks    

Raccoons

Please note, it is illegal to trap & relocate any mammal in New York without a license. Additionally, animals that are relocated with good intentions to "a safer area" are at an extreme disadvantage. They must compete for food, shelter, and other resources. They will often have to fight for territory with other members of their species in this new environment. 

Preventing a Problem 

  • Do not put any food outside for animals. Birdseed, peanuts, bread, and cat/dog food encourage an unnatural association between wildlife and people. Putting food outdoors invites all species of wildlife to your property.

  • Close off cat and dog doors at night to prevent wildlife from entering your house.

  • Purchase garbage cans with locking handles or fasten them closed with bungee cord or rope.  Raccoons have long slender fingers that make it easy to open garbage cans and grasp food.

  • Keep fallen fruit picked up.  If temptation is eliminated, fewer raccoons will wander into your yard.

  • Don’t leave garage and shed doors open at night.

  • Close off any possible holes/entrances to the foundation of your house or deck.  However, do not do this if you suspect babies are present, they will become trapped.

  • Never corner a raccoon or any other wildlife, which can encourage the animal to act defensively.

  • If you are in an open area and encounter a raccoon, just continue on your way, and the raccoon will do the same.

Solving a Problem

Raccoons living under a deck or shed

Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction, raccoons and other wildlife seek shelter in human-made places.

If you need to discourage this, try the following:

  • Keep lights on during the night (this may deter nocturnal animals)

  • Keep loud talk-radio playing during the night

  • Turn on motion-sensor sprinklers at night

  • Place ammonia-soaked rags in a can around the perimeter and entrance to the area

  • Carefully inspect the area once you are absolutely sure the animal has left (remember, raccoons can have babies March-September), seal up the entry ways. 

Raccoons attacking pet chickens or ducks

Raccoons are predatory animals. They hunt for their food. Keep pets indoors at night or in a safe, predator-proof enclosure so raccoons, foxes, hawk, owls, and other animals cannot harm them.

Opossums

Please note, it is illegal to trap & relocate any mammal in New York without a license. Additionally, animals that are relocated with good intentions to "a safer area" are at an extreme disadvantage. They must compete for food, shelter, and other resources. They will often have to fight for territory with other members of their species in this new environment. 

Preventing a Problem 

  • Do not put any food outside for animals. Birdseed, peanuts, bread, and cat/dog food encourage an unnatural association between wildlife and people. Putting food outdoors invites all species of wildlife to your property.

  • Close off cat and dog doors at night to prevent wildlife from entering your house.

  • Keep fallen fruit picked up. Opossums have an excellent sense of smell.

  • Don’t leave garage and shed doors open at night.

  • Close off any possible holes/entrances to the foundation of your house or deck once you are absolutely sure the animal is not inside.

  • Never corner an opossum or any other wildlife. This can encourage the animal to act defensively.

Solving a Problem

Opossums living under a deck or shed, or in garage

Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction, opossums and other wildlife seek shelter in human-made places. If you need to discourage this, try the following:

  • Keep lights on during the night (this may deter nocturnal animals)

  • Keep loud talk-radio playing during the night

  • Kurn on motion-sensor sprinklers at night

  • Place ammonia-soaked rags in a can around the perimeter and entrance to the area

  • Carefully inspect the area once you are absolutely sure the animal has left, seal up the entry ways. 

Opossum trapped in the garbage can

Opossums are excellent climbers, but commonly get "stuck' inside garbage cans and can't get out. To solve this problem:

  • Slowly tip the can on its side. The opossum will leave when he feels it is safe. If there are any nearby bushes, carry the can close to them. The opossum will likely be very scared and may not leave until night time. Secure the can once the opossum leaves

Trapped in window well 

  • Place a board or la ladder down the well so the animal can climb out. Cover such areas to prevent another occurrence.

 

Opossums attacking pet chickens or ducks

Opossums are typically too slow to catch live animals, however, we recommend keeping all pets indoors at night or in a safe, predator-proof enclosure so raccoons, foxes, hawk, owls, and other animals cannot harm them.

Squirrels

Squirrels living in your attic, garage, chimney, or on the roof

Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction, squirrels and other wildlife seek shelter in human-made places. If you need to discourage this, try the following:

  • Keep loud talk-radio playing in the area that the squirrels are living. 

  • Place ammonia-soaked rags in a can around the perimeter and entrance to the area

  • Carefully inspect the area. Once you are absolutely sure the animal has left, seal up the entry ways. *Squirrels have babies March-October. It is very important not to seal entry ways unless you are sure there aren't any animals left behind.

  • Cut tree limbs that provide access to your roof.

  • Cap your chimney with heavy wire mesh as long as there are no animals currently in your chimney. 

What can I do to discourage squirrels from my yard?
Axle grease or sheet metal can be used on or around tree trunks to prevent climbing. Sprinkling perfumed soap chips or cayenne pepper will prevent them from digging. You can also purchase a plastic hawk or owl from a hardware store to scare them away. Place the look-alike in a tree and make sure to move it about once a week, or the squirrels will catch on.

Please note, it is illegal to trap & relocate any mammal in New York without a license. Additionally, animals that are relocated with good intentions to "a safer area" are at an extreme disadvantage. They must compete for food, shelter, and other resources. They will often have to fight for territory with other members of their species in this new environment. 

Mice & Rats

Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction, rodents and other wildlife seek shelter in human-made places. If you need to discourage this, try the following:

In backyards:

  • Do not put any food outside for animals. Birdseed, peanuts, bread, and cat/dog food encourage an unnatural association between wildlife and people. Putting food outdoors invites all species of wildlife to your property.

  • Keep lights on during the night (this may deter nocturnal animals)

  • Keep loud talk-radio playing during the day and night

  • Turn on motion-sensor sprinklers

  • Place ammonia-soaked rags in a can around the perimeter and entrance to the area

In Homes:

  • Remove food sources. Secure food in plastic containers (as opposed to cardboard).

  • Play loud talk-radio in the area you suspect the mice/rats are staying.

  • Keep lights on. 

  • Place ammonia-soaked rags in a can around the perimeter and entrance to the area

  • Carefully inspect the area. Once you are absolutely sure the animal has left, then seal up the entryways. 

Songbirds

Please note: birds, their nests, eggs, feathers and parts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is against federal law to capture, take, or relocate birds and their parts. 

Nest building in the house, air conditioners, awnings, etc.
Place wire over the top of the chimney in the wintertime to deter nesting in springtime. For birds that are in the process of nest building you can disrupt the nest before eggs have been laid. It is, however, against federal law to disturb bird nests that have eggs or babies. Once the babies have left the nest you may remove it. Continue checking the area for nest building activity. If you continue to dismantle the nest as the birds are making it, they will move on and nest elsewhere. Make sure to patch up air conditioners, holes in awnings, or any other cavities you do not want birds nesting in.

Can't I just move the nest a little bit away from its original site?

No. Moving the nest, even a little bit, can cause the mother to be unable to find it and her babies. Furthermore, again, it is against federal law to relocate the nest, even if it is moved a few feet away. We know it can be very frustrating to simply wait until the babies have grown, but remember it will only last a few weeks (most small songbirds fledge at 2 weeks). 

Can I bring the babies to you and remove the nest?

Birds (like all of our native wildlife) have the best chance of survival in the wild with their parents. These animals are incredibly stressed in captivity and it is very difficult to raise them. Furthermore, our hospital has limited space. We cannot take in healthy animals whose parents are still caring for them, as we have to focus on caring for injured and orphaned wildlife. The most humane and easiest option is to wait until all of the babies leave the nest and then dismantle it.

Birds keep hitting a window
The sun’s glare on a window creates a mirror effect, so birds may see themselves and think it is an intruder. Birds are trying to protect their territory by attacking their image. Try closing your curtains, placing bird silhouettes or static-cling decals randomly on your windows.

How do I get a bird out of my house?
Birds will typically fly toward light. Close all the curtains and turn off the lights. Leave the doors open and let the bird find its own way out. Don’t try to catch or chase it out. This will stress the bird and may cause it to injure itself.

Please note: birds, their nests, eggs, feathers and parts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is against federal law to capture, take, or relocate birds and their parts. 

Woodpeckers are drilling holes in my house. What can I do?
There are several non-lethal ways to deter woodpeckers from using your house as a granary site.

  • Install black netting secured with 1x firring along the perimeter of the structure the woodpeckers are drilling. The netting should be secured tightly so that when the woodpeckers land on it they bounce off. The surface of the net will make it uncomfortable for the birds to reach the wall to insert acorns and the netting holes are small enough to prevent the woodpeckers from reaching their heads through to drill. (Netting sold at birdbarrier.com)

  • Hang battery-powered spiders on your house. These spiders are sound activated and drop down by a string and then climb back up when sound is detected. This movement will frighten off the woodpeckers.

  • Place sheet metal over the drilling area. The woodpeckers will not be able to penetrate the metal. (Please note that the resonance produced by the metal may become a favorable drumming post.)

  • Place a superficial layer of brick or concrete over the drilling area.

  • Provide dead limbs and snags in your yard that can be utilized for nesting and granary sites.

Ducks

Please note: birds, their nests, eggs, feathers and parts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is against federal law to capture, take, or relocate birds and their parts. 

Ducks nesting in pools:

  • Keep the pool covered to prevent duck access as much as possible. Once the birds are there, shouting and waving arms might successfully frighten them off. You want to deter ducks from your yard before they lay eggs. Once they do this, the nest must not be moved or dismantled until the family has left. It is against federal law to move or dismantle an active nest.

  • Erect visual repellents that move in the wind: old CD’s or DVD’s hanging from trees around the pool, large helium-filled balloons with eye patterns marked on them, or a large black plastic sheet atop a pole.

  • Ducklings already in pool: Put a ramp in the water. You can use a long lawn chair, beach chair, plank of wood, top of a plastic storage tub, etc. Because they can’t fly like their mother can, they usually need help exiting the water to get to food, rest, and warmth.

Hawks

Please note: birds, their nests, eggs, feathers and parts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is against federal law to capture, take, or relocate birds and their parts. 

Cooper's Hawks eating songbirds:

While it is sad to watch, the predator-prey relationship between Cooper's Hawks and songbirds is part of the circle of life. However, if you enjoy bird-watching and a hawk has taken to coming by your feeder, you may be able to encourage it to move on to another location by taking down your feeder for a few days. If songbirds continue to flock to your yard, the hawk will as well. Typically, the hawk will move on to a location with more food, but plenty of songbirds will return.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Please note, it is illegal to trap & relocate any mammal in New York without a license. Additionally, animals that are relocated with good intentions to "a safer area" are at an extreme disadvantage. They must compete for food, shelter, and other resources. They will often have to fight for territory with other members of their species in this new environment. 

Rodents

Woodpeckers