DEAR JOAN: As Halloween approaches, I’m wondering whether you might let your readers know that small birds can get caught in decorative Halloween webbing. If (people) use it, they should please check it throughout the day. Birds cannot be disabled themselves and can die.
I’ve worked as a wildlife rehabilitator for 15 years and have seen a number of sad incidents like this.
If they find an entangled bird they should cut around the webbing and take the whole thing to a wildlife center such as Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley where it can be removed successfully. If they attempt to do it themselves, they could damage the bird. Butterflies can get caught too, but not much can be done for them.
Thank you for all you do and for your compassionate approach to wildlife. People often get frustrated with local wildlife, and you encourage them to coexist.
Jackie Turner, Los Gatos
DEAR JACKIE: Thanks so much for the warning and especially the suggestion on how to care for the birds. It’s difficult when you know you want to help, but don’t know how.
Until you’ve seen a bird tangled up in those fake webs, you don’t realize how frightful they are. Unfortunately, our holiday decor can harm many of our wild friends. Antlered deer can become entangled in loosely-draped holiday lights. Other animals might be fooled by realistic looking fruit, nuts and berries on decorations and become ill after eating them.
We should also take into account that those carved jack-o’-lanterns on our front porch can attract a variety of hungry animals, which isn’t a bad thing — just don’t freak out, if you find a raccoon at your front door with a fist full of pumpkin.
That doesn’t mean we can’t decorate, just that we should avoid known dangers, such as the fake cobwebs, and keep a watchful eye on the décor.
DEAR JOAN: Every night, some critter has been digging a hole beneath my redwood fence shared by neighbor and me. I don’t know what it’s after or who he is.
Every morning I fill in the hole, but the next night either that hole reappears or there is a new one next to it.
A local nursery recommended I sprinkle coyote urine crystals. So far I have done that three times, but there’s been no change in the digging. Would submerging a wire fence stop him, and if so, what is the needed depth?
Any suggestions as to how to keep the critter away? There is an apple tree in my yard, but I don’t notice apples being taken.
DEAR SALLY: You might have something in your yard that is attracting a critter, or you could have unconsiderately built a fence right in the desired path of some critter. The nerves.
Depending on the size of the hole, it could be a skunk, a fox or a raccoon. Larger animals, such as a coyote, would probably just leap over the fence.
Yes, burying a fence beneath the redwood one will likely solve the problem. Placing it 2 to 3 feet deep is enough to thwart most diggers.
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