Together, we can make a difference.

Stop the hunt of Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes - Photo by John Duncan on Unsplash

Photo by John Duncan on Unsplash

We need your voice!

The Michigan Senate Natural Resources Committee voted to pass Senate Resolution 0030 (SR 30) urging the Natural Resources Commission to designate Sandhill cranes as a game species and to open a hunting season on them.

One hundred years ago, Michigan’s Sandhill crane population was near extinction due to hunting and diminishing wetland habitats. The bird’s population recovered at a very slow pace and still remains vulnerable.

Instead of celebrating a successful conservation effort, SR 30 seeks to destroy it!  The hunting of Sandhill cranes serves no wildlife management purpose, does not prevent crop conflict, and reverses conservation efforts by orphaning still-dependent young.

Please contact your Michigan Senator today and ask him/her to VOTE NO on SR 30 to open a hunting season on Sandhill cranes.

The Endangered Species: Nearing Extinction?

The current Administration has out forth a set of proposals designed to weaken protections in the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Michigan has 19 animals on the Endangered Species list.  From the noble grey wolves, to beautiful Kirtland Warbler, to the mysterious Canada Lynx, vulnerable animals important to Michigan’s ecosystem will be at much greater risk of harm and extinction under these proposed changes.

The changes would allow for destruction of critical habitat, the last places they are found, by special interests and would make it legal to hurt and kill threatened animals — amounting to a huge reduction in protections for threatened species that slow down recovery and put more animals at risk of permanent extinction.  For 45 years, the ESA has successfully saved vulnerable animals from extinction.

HSHV works with local, state and federal legislators and partner organizations to help better protect animals. Below are some resources helpful in advocacy. Have a suggestion for more resources? Email us!

ADVOCACY TIPS

Effective Advocacy Tips

Courtesy of Jenifer Martin, adjunct clinical instructor at the UM School of Public Health and HSHV board member

Step 1: Identify the issue you are concerned about

  • Think about the issue at hand and what exactly you want to see changed. Work to gather information on the issue from all sides, including arguments both for and against the change you want to see made.

Step 2: Identify a clear goal for your advocacy

  • Creating a goal that is realistic and will have an impact is one of the most important steps in effective advocacy work. Start off by developing an “ask.” When doing this, consider what it is you want to accomplish. Is it a new law? A regulation? Be as clear as possible about what you are asking lawmakers to do and if appropriate, include the following:
    • Specific legislation involved
    • The lead sponsor of the legislation
    • Timing of any future actions

Sample “ask”: I’m writing to urge you to vote “no” on House bill 5917, sponsored by Rep Vaupe, which would prohibit local governments from enacting rules that regulate pet shops. If this bill passes, any city or county wishing to prohibit pet shops from selling puppy mill puppies would be unable to do so. Ordinances already passed by Michigan cities to prohibit the sale of puppy mills would e revoked. This bill we e considered on the floor of the House next week.

Step 3: Identify the Decision Maker

  • When planning, it is important to think about who is going to be making any decisions regarding the issue you are concerned about. Will it be Congress? Is there a subcommittee? Your local Mayor? Focus all communication and efforts engaging those who will be a part of the decision making process for your particular issue.

Step 4: Affiliate/Build Coalition

  • Strength comes in numbers. Connect with local groups and organizations who share your goal and build and mobilize grass roots efforts. Because elected officials really listen to their constituents, the more stakeholders you can engage in your efforts, the better.

Step 5: Identify Opportunities to Engage

  • One of the most effective ways to bring your issue to an elected officials attention is by engaging with them in a variety of ways. Attending town hall meetings, writing letters, inviting staff to events and conducting in person meetings are all great ways to communicate your goal.

More tips:

  • Be prepared: have information, questions and expertise readily available.
  • Be professional: dress the part! Engage in polite, respectful way and be mindful of body language and your overall approach. Refrain from things like gum chewing and having your cell phone.
  • Be Persistent: offer your assistance, write thank you notes and maintain contact.
ANIMAL WELFARE ARTICLES

Advocating on your own animals’ behalf

 

FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES

Use the links below to find out who represents you. The more your elected officials hear from you, their constituent, on animal welfare issues, the more likely they are to make it a priority for them to address. Your phone call, email or personal visit makes an impact!

Find Your Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti (local) Representatives

Ann Arbor City Government Website: Find your Ann Arbor City Council Representatives

Ypsilanti City Government Website: Find your Ypsilanti City Council Representatives

Other City Contacts: Saline City CouncilPlymouth City Government

Washtenaw County Government Website: Find your Washtenaw County Elected Officials

Find your Michigan (state) Representatives

Michigan House of Representatives Website: Find your State Representative

Michigan Senate Website: Find your State Senator

Find your Federal (national) Representatives

U.S. House of Representatives Website: Find your Congressional Representative

U.S. Senate: Contact Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow

Baby deer nuzzing Doe

THE ANN ARBOR DEER CULL

The Humane Society of Huron Valley is supportive of developing an educational and non-lethal method of managing animal/human conflicts in our community. Because our organization works with many instances of such conflicts with wildlife, we know that there are many effective ways to solve these problems without the use of violence. As such a progressive city, it is our hope that Ann Arbor will consider being at the forefront for setting a new standard of solving human/animal conflicts. Similar to the successful plan implemented in Rochester Hills, Michigan, we advocate for education, strategies to alert drives to high deer traffic areas and the development of a committee to assist and educate residents who are struggling with wildlife conflicts in their neighborhood. See our printable Deer Management Position Statement.

READ MORE

Our organization was asked to present at the February 5, 2015 Ann Arbor public meeting regarding a deer management project but were only given the option to present on the topic of “Immunocontraception in deer.” Although we have extensive experience in working with wildlife, we do not currently have any experience in sterlizing deer nor do we, as a nonprofit organization, have the resources to do the necessary research and field work without support from the City of Ann Arbor. Recognizing that we are not experts in the field of deer sterilization, we recommended someone who is an expert and would come to the city for free or very low cost but our offer was declined. We encouraged the city to contact Laura Simon, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Field Director for the Urban Wildlife Department, as she was readily available to help. The Citizens for Safe Deer Management urged the City to meet with someone from HSUS regarding deer sterilization, offered to pay for any cost incurred, and on July 13, 2015, they met with Stephanie Boyles-Griffin, Senior Director at HSUS who presented on “Use of Fertility Control to Manage Urban White-Tailed Deer Populations” and spent days in Ann Arbor assessing the potential for a deer fertility control project here.  She concluded it was feasible and extended an invitation to work with Ann Arbor, as can be seen in this report.

On August 17, 2015, Ann Arbor City Council Members voted 8-1 to start a four-year plan to kill deer in the City of Ann Arbor, starting with 100 deer this winter. Mayor Christopher Taylor opposed this move, saying he was aware there is not a community consensus on this issue.

As an organization dedicated to animal welfare, this concerns us greatly on many levels and for many reasons. We will continue to work on this issue and help educate the community. To oppose the hiring of sharpshooters to kill deer in Ann Arbor, please contact City Council.

The Humane Society of Huron Valley continues to offer to be a resource on this issue and any issue that is a concern to humans and animals in our community.  We look forward to opportunities to partner with the City of Ann Arbor to provide education to our residents and work towards a successful and safe conflict management plan.

To learn more about this issue, please see our website StopTheShoot.org. See our printable Deer Management Position Statement here.

Sandhill Crane, photo by Joan Tisdale

SR 30 - SANDHILL CRANE HUNT

Sandhill Cranes are believed to be our oldest living bird species — over 9 million years. They mate for life, their babies stay with them for a year, and their populations recover slowly, in part because each breeding pair usually has only one chick per year that survives. The Humane Society of Huron Valley opposes Senate Resolution 30 which urges the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to designate Sandhill Cranes as a game species, and to seek permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to open a hunting season on them.

READ MORE

SR 30 urges the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to add Sandhill cranes to the game species list and seek U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval to establish annual recreational Sandhill crane hunting seasons in Michigan.

One hundred years ago, the Sandhill crane population was near extinction in Michigan due to hunting and diminishing wetland habitats. While the bird’s population recovered, it did so at a very slow pace.

Instead of celebrating successful conservation, SR 30 aims to destroy it. We believe Sandhill Crane hunt is cruel and reverses conservation efforts by killing or orphaning dependent young.

Sandhill Cranes are monogamous, mate for life, and stay with their mates year-round as bonded pairs. Both parents work together to raise their offspring. When hatched, chicks can leave the nest within a day under parental supervision; however, chicks are still dependent on both parents well into and past the fall hunting season and before these birds can migrate to their wintering grounds.  Given their slow reproduction, harming an adult or offspring makes the Sandhill crane population extremely vulnerable.

Farmers experiencing conflicts with Sandhill cranes can obtain non-lethal deterrence products to make seeds unpalatable to birds, or as a last resort, request a permit for lethal control of the problem birds. Conducting a hunting season in the fall serves no wildlife management purpose.

From the standpoint of a humane organization, we are very concerned that a Sandhill Crane hunt is cruel and could orphan dependent young. Sandhill Cranes are monogamous, and mate for life—which can mean two decades or more—and they stay with their mates year-round as bonded pairs. Both Sandhill Crane parents work together to raise their chicks. When the chicks are hatched in late spring, they are able to leave the nest within a day under the supervision of the parents. However, the chicks continue to be dependent upon both parents well into and past the hunting season, which occurs in the fall. If Michigan opens a hunting season before these Sandhill Crane family units migrate to their wintering grounds, either parent, or the still-dependent young, could be killed in that hunt. There is no justification for potentially destroying families of this still-recovering species, simply to sell a few hunting licenses. If farmers encounter conflicts with Sandhill cranes in the spring, they can obtain non-lethal deterrence products to make their seeds unpalatable to birds, or as a last resort, they can request a permit for lethal control of the problem birds. Conducting a hunting season in the fall serves no wildlife management purpose.

Please join us in opposing SR 30 by writing the Michigan State Senate. A sample email is below.

I oppose SR 0030 (SR 30) urging the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to designate Sandhill cranes as a game species and seeking U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval to establish a Sandhill crane hunting season.

One hundred years ago, Michigan’s Sandhill crane population was near extinction due to hunting and diminishing wetland habitats. The bird’s population recovered at a very slow pace and still remains vulnerable. 

Instead of celebrating a successful conservation effort, SR 30 seeks to destroy it.

A Sandhill crane hunt reverses conservation efforts by orphaning dependent young. Chicks are hatched in late spring, but dependent on both parents well into and past the fall hunting season. If Michigan hunts Sandhill cranes before they migrate to wintering grounds, either parent could be killed.  There is no justification for destroying families of a still-recovering species.

A Sandhill crane hunt serves no wildlife management purpose.  The recovery of a threatened population is not science-based rationale to open a hunting season.

A Sandhill crane hunt does not prevent conflict with crops.  There is no evidence that hunting Sandhill cranes would reduce damage to crops.  Farmers can already obtain non-lethal, more effective deterrence products to make their seeds unpalatable to birds, or as a last resort, request a permit to lethally remove Sandhill cranes when necessary.

Lost dog and cat sign

STRAY HOLD LAW

Approximately 70% of households own one or more pets in Michigan, equaling an estimated 4.7 million dogs and cats.  Most are considered a beloved part of the family.  According to national figures, one in three of these pets will get lost at some point during their lifetime, causing great distress to their human guardians.  As a result, most communities throughout the United States have designated stray hold facilities whose role it is to be a safe haven where families can find their lost pets. Since 1969, licensed shelters in Michigan that take in strays have been required to follow a 4 or 7 day (depending on if the animal has ID) stray hold law (MCL 287.388) for animals found loose without an owner.  We are in favor of the Stray Hold Law, and while we desperately need this bill, HSHV opposes it in its current state based on several flaws.

READ MORE

Since 1969, licensed shelters in Michigan that take in strays have been required to follow a 4 or 7 day (depending on if the animal has ID) stray hold law (MCL 287.388) for animals found loose without an owner.  This law has been strictly enforced by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the department that licenses animal shelters.  However, after being legally challenged by a large, private Michigan shelter, MDARD has recently notified all shelters that it will no longer be enforcing the current stray hold law (based on its being located in a section of the law pertaining to the use of dogs and cats in research).

The stray hold law ensures that owners have a chance to find their lost companion animal.  Without a stray hold law, an animal entering a shelter can be immediately adopted, transferred to another facility/group, or put to death without giving owners even one day to find their lost pet.  And even if owners find their lost pet in a shelter, without a stray hold law, the shelter has no obligation to return them to their rightful owners.

Following MDARD’s announcement, Michigan now stands nearly alone in the absence of a state mandated stray hold.  The Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) firmly believes in the importance of stray hold times as a basic and essential protection for pets and their owners, and will continue to follow the policies we already have in place.  So while pets and pet owners in Washtenaw County are safe (as long as the animals don’t cross county lines), many in Michigan are now in a precarious position.

HB 4915 was introduced by Representative Mike McCready to help rectify this issue.  While we desperately need this bill, HSHV opposes it in its current state based on two serious flaws:    

1)    Cats as second-class pets:  The bill reduces stray hold times to “zero days” for cats that are “candidates for adoption or sterilization programs.”  Though we strongly support a bill that promotes Trap, Neuter and Return — where unowned cats are sterilized and returned to their original location — as the only proven effective means of reducing overpopulation, the vague use of the word “candidate” leaves the option to euthanize stray cats at intake, as sadly many Michigan shelters would still prefer to do.  Further, we believe “adoptable” cats, like dogs, should also be held for the minimum hold times of 4 or 7 days to give owners a chance to find them.

  • We recommend the same hold time for both dogs and cats, and support clear provisions for sterilization programs that return cats to their original location.  Even if a lost cat is mistaken for an outdoor/feral cat, returning them to their original location is more likely to help them to get back home.  One study found that cats left mainly to their own devices are 13 times more likely to find their way back home than those that end up at a shelter.

2)    Wide discretion to euthanize before hold times have expired:  The bill also states that “(A) AN ANIMAL THAT WOULD BE SUBJECTED TO UNDUE SUFFERING” can be immediately euthanized.   Though we agree with the essence of this statement, the language gives too much discretion to shelters to define “suffering.”  Many common or treatable conditions such as fear, arthritis, blindness, contagious disease, or old age could be used as justification to immediately put a lost animal (dog or cat) to death, without regard to hold times.

  • We recommend a definition of suffering as suggested by Nathan Winograd, Director of the No-Kill Advocacy Center.Irremediable physical suffering” means an animal who has a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe unremitting pain even with comprehensive, prompt, and necessary veterinary care, as determined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in the state.”     

Respecting and promoting the loving bond between people and their companion animals should be at the core of animal sheltering work.  Basic stray hold times applied consistently to both dogs and cats, and clear definitions around justification for euthanasia provide important protections to both people and animals.  HSHV and our supporters want to see increased adoptions and sterilizations, and the elimination of unnecessary shelter euthanasia across the state—not stripping families of the right to reclaim their lost animals.

Photo by George Potter on Unsplash

PETTING ZOOS

Petting zoos are sold as fun learning experiences for children, but instead are artificial environments designed simply for entertainment that are bad for animals and people. Animals used in entertainment suffer from abuse and neglect, deprived of the care they require to meet their social, behavioral and physical needs.  They are kept in unnatural housing, not fed a proper diet, and suffer from fear, stress and boredom during transport and living in captivity and overcrowded conditions. We are opposed to petting zoos.

READ MORE

There are no required standards nor regulatory oversight for petting zoos. Basic animal welfare standards are not followed related to veterinary care, diet, housing, bedding and expression of natural behaviors.  Animals at petting zoos are often not properly protected from the elements, forced to stand all day long in the sun during the hot summer months without access to shade or adequate water.

Frequently petting zoos breed or buy baby animals so there is always an ample stock of adorable babies to entertain customers, but those young animals are usually taken from their mothers too soon, are not provided with proper care and socialization, and must endure the stress of being transported from place to place.  Like the adult animals, they have no refuge from the stresses of constant human interaction.

Petting zoos are also known to be a health risk to humans, especially children, as a common source of zoonotic disease spread, including dangerous infections caused by exposure to E. Coli.

Love them or hate them, urban wildlife are here.  While humans expand and develop land for our own needs, we’re finding ourselves living closer to animals who are finding themselves with less habitat and adapting to ours. As such, human/wildlife conflicts emerge– though there are many things we can do to prevent it!

What to do about:

Photo of Chimney Swift by Dominic Sherony on Flickr
CHIMNEY SWIFTS

It’s a flying cigar… it’s a plane… it’s a chimney swift! As their name implies these migratory birds often make their nests in uncapped chimneys. Before the advent of European settlers to North America they would build nests in hollow trees and caves.

Want to keep your chimney free and clear of unwanted nest materials? All you have to do is put a cap on your chimney during the winter months when the chimney swifts have migrated south. That way you ensure there are no young birds caught in your chimney. If you would like to help the chimney swifts find an alternative nesting site you can building a nesting tower. Here are some plans to get you started!

To help deter chimney swifts from nesting in your home, try this strategy:

  • Cap your chimney in the winter.
Photo by Pat H on Unsplash
COYOTES

Though coyotes originally only lived in the grasslands of the western United States and Canada, they can now be found across the United States.  These adaptive animals have long been persecuted because of their reputation as livestock predators.  Those living in urban/suburban settings are more likely to be concerned for the safety of their companion animals.  While coyotes are predators who eat smaller animals, they are generally wary of humans and will avoid preying on animals who are accompanied by their human companions.

If you are concerned about your own pet’s safety, you need not worry much!  You can easily protect your companion animal by accompanying them while outside.  This is especially true at night, as coyotes are nocturnal animals.  Free roaming cats are the most likely domestic animals to be victims of coyotes, so cats should be kept indoors as much as possible.  If that is not feasible, it is important to make sure cats have a vertical space where they can escape (a tree, a tall wooden post, etc.)

To coexist peacefully with coyotes, try implementing these strategies:

  • Refrain from leaving any pet foot outside overnight
  • Continue to keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
  • Accompany companion animals while outdoors
  • If you encounter a bold coyote who is active during the day and/or does not seem intimidated by human presence it is important to get across the message that you are a threat. This can be done without harming the coyote by shouting, banging loud objects or spraying them with a hose.
Photo by Cairomoon on Pixabay
GROUNDHOGS

Groundhogs spend most of their time trying to consume sufficient food in order to have enough fat to survive hibernation, and they are attracted to areas where they can find food and feel safe. While they may be considered a pest to gardeners and homeowners, groundhogs are in fact very gentle and often just looking for their next meal. They don’t wander far from their den openings, so by deterring them from living in your yard you can greatly reduce the chances of them wandering through.

Worried about groundhogs building burrows in your lawn? These solitary creatures enjoy living in transitional areas like the edge of a field or in a prairie next to a forest. If you keep debris such as loose stones, woodpiles or compost piles cleaned up then groundhogs feel exposed and are significantly less likely to live in your yard.

To help deter groundhogs from coming near your home or garden try implementing these strategies:

  • Remove any woodpiles, loose stones or groundcover from the area to deter them
  • Place used cat litter around groundhog burrows; they will feel like predators are in the area and not want to live there
  • Place shiny plastic strips or other shiny items like old cd’s near burrow entrances. This will make groundhogs feel like predators are around.
  • Put up fencing around your home, porch or garden. Remember to bury it at least 8-12 inches down and then another 10 inches away from the structure in an L shape.
Photo by Chris Child on Unsplash
MUTE SWANS

Not native to the United States, mute swans were originally brought the North America to decorate the ponds and lakes of large estates and parks.  The mute swan population has expanded over the years and they can now be found across the U.S. It is not legal to hunt mute swans in Michigan.

Mute swans are not likely to cause conflicts with people, but some people are concerned about their perceived aggressiveness.  Mute swans are known to be very protective of their nests, especially if a female swan is incubating her eggs.  To prevent conflict simply avoid approaching swans, especially if they are nesting or with their cygnets (babies).  To further prevent conflict with mute swans you may try:

  • Use mild pestering, such as putting up a scarecrow or using Mylar tape, to make your property uninviting.
  • Certain repellents may be sprayed on grass to make it undesirable as a food source.
Photo by daynaw3990 on Pixabay
OPOSSUMS

Myths abound about these helpful and misunderstood creatures. Opossums may have a scary look but they are actually quite gentle and have some very beneficial behaviors. They eat ticks and can’t get rabies or many other illnesses due to their low body temperature.

Opossums will keep to themselves and are transient, often spending most of their time wandering around looking for food. While they are mostly nocturnal, it is not unusual to spot one during the day. They may wander into your yard, but they won’t stay for long.

The best thing to do if you spot an opossum in your yard is to wait them out; chances are they will move along soon. You can also:

  • Keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
  • Block off any openings under decks, porches or sheds
Photo by Guillaume Bourdages on Unsplash
RACCOONS

These bandit-masked animals are believed to be just as intelligent as cats and dogs.  Because they are also highly dexterous and resourceful some people find themselves in opposition to these clever animals.  While raccoons used to only be found in forests they have learned to adapt to living in urban and suburban environments as their natural habitats have been destroyed.  Raccoons love to seize an easy opportunity, so unsecured garbage bins and accessible pet food encourage raccoon visitors.  Similarly, small openings that allow access to attics, chimneys or garages are appealing to raccoons looking for a den.

Raccoons generally do not pose a threat to humans, but can cause damage to property.  The easiest way to avoid conflict with raccoons is prevention!  Follow these tips to avoid potential raccoon problems:

  • Refrain from leaving any pet foot outside overnight
  • Continue to keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
  • Secure pet doors and close off small openings to attics and chimneys
  • Make your home space less appealing to raccoons with mild harassment such as bright lights or loud music
  • Place fences around gardens
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SKUNKS

A gentle creature with many beneficial behaviors, skunks can be unnecessarily feared by humans because of their pungent smelling spray. Skunks are not aggressive in nature and will rarely bother humans. Because their eyes don’t clearly define what is in front of them, it may appear that they are approaching humans when in fact, they are harmlessly walking about in search of food. Munching mostly on small rodents, insects and grubs, skunks are great at natural pest control and tend to enjoy the critters that many humans don’t.

Fearful of being sprayed? When a skunk is feeling threatened, he/she will give several warning signs before spraying. These include stomping their front feet, lifting their tail and hissing. It is when humans or our unleashed pets don’t heed their warnings that these docile animals feel the need to further protect themselves and use their powerful spray. If you come across a skunk, moving away slowly and quietly will help ensure that a skunk will keep their spray to themselves.

To help deter skunks from coming near your home, try implementing these strategies:

  • Refrain from leaving any pet foot outside overnight
  • Keep dogs leashed or in a fenced area at all times, especially at night
  • Place a seed tray under bird feeders to prevent seeds from falling to the ground, which can attract some wildlife
  • Continue to keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
  • Block off any openings under decks, porches or sheds
  • Secure all outbuildings to prevent skunks from wandering into them
Photo by Caleb Martin on Unsplash
SQUIRRELS

Whether you live in the city, country or somewhere in-between you’re likely to have crossed paths with a squirrel.  Some species of squirrel, like the fox squirrel, have actually learned to thrive amongst human populations.  For the most part, squirrels and humans can exist side-by-side without conflict, but occasionally undesirable situations can arise.

Some people are put off by squirrels raiding bird feeders.  Fortunately, there are many bird feeders on the market these days that prevent squirrels from being able to reach the food in bird feeders.  If squirrels emptying the bird feeder is a problem, you could also consider only filling your bird feeder with foods that appeal to birds but not squirrels, such as white millet seed, Niger thistle and safflower seed.

To further prevent conflicts with squirrels, consider the following:

  • Close off small openings to attics and chimneys
  • Purchase bird feeders that do not allow squirrels access to food
  • Continue to keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
Photo by Skeeze on Pixabay
TRUMPETER SWANS

These elegant birds with snowy white feathers are a protected species in Michigan.  It is not legal to hunt or harass trumpeter swans.  Trumpeter swans can be distinguished from mute swans by their black beaks, as opposed to mute swans’ orange bill.

Trumpeter swans are not likely to cause conflicts with people, but some people are concerned about their perceived aggressiveness.  Trumpeter swans are known to form strong familial bonds and are very protective of their nests, especially if a female swan is incubating her eggs.  To prevent conflict simply avoid approaching swans, especially if they are nesting or with their cygnets (babies).  To further prevent conflict with trumpeter swans you may try:

  • Use mild pestering, such as putting up a scarecrow or using Mylar tape, to make your property uninviting.
  • Certain repellents may be sprayed on grass to make it undesirable as a food source.
Action Alerts

Stop the hunt of Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes - Photo by John Duncan on Unsplash

Photo by John Duncan on Unsplash

We need your voice!

The Michigan Senate Natural Resources Committee voted to pass Senate Resolution 0030 (SR 30) urging the Natural Resources Commission to designate Sandhill cranes as a game species and to open a hunting season on them.

One hundred years ago, Michigan’s Sandhill crane population was near extinction due to hunting and diminishing wetland habitats. The bird’s population recovered at a very slow pace and still remains vulnerable.

Instead of celebrating a successful conservation effort, SR 30 seeks to destroy it!  The hunting of Sandhill cranes serves no wildlife management purpose, does not prevent crop conflict, and reverses conservation efforts by orphaning still-dependent young.

Please contact your Michigan Senator today and ask him/her to VOTE NO on SR 30 to open a hunting season on Sandhill cranes.

Latest News

The Endangered Species: Nearing Extinction?

The current Administration has out forth a set of proposals designed to weaken protections in the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Michigan has 19 animals on the Endangered Species list.  From the noble grey wolves, to beautiful Kirtland Warbler, to the mysterious Canada Lynx, vulnerable animals important to Michigan’s ecosystem will be at much greater risk of harm and extinction under these proposed changes.

The changes would allow for destruction of critical habitat, the last places they are found, by special interests and would make it legal to hurt and kill threatened animals — amounting to a huge reduction in protections for threatened species that slow down recovery and put more animals at risk of permanent extinction.  For 45 years, the ESA has successfully saved vulnerable animals from extinction.

Resources

HSHV works with local, state and federal legislators and partner organizations to help better protect animals. Below are some resources helpful in advocacy. Have a suggestion for more resources? Email us!

ADVOCACY TIPS

Effective Advocacy Tips

Courtesy of Jenifer Martin, adjunct clinical instructor at the UM School of Public Health and HSHV board member

Step 1: Identify the issue you are concerned about

  • Think about the issue at hand and what exactly you want to see changed. Work to gather information on the issue from all sides, including arguments both for and against the change you want to see made.

Step 2: Identify a clear goal for your advocacy

  • Creating a goal that is realistic and will have an impact is one of the most important steps in effective advocacy work. Start off by developing an “ask.” When doing this, consider what it is you want to accomplish. Is it a new law? A regulation? Be as clear as possible about what you are asking lawmakers to do and if appropriate, include the following:
    • Specific legislation involved
    • The lead sponsor of the legislation
    • Timing of any future actions

Sample “ask”: I’m writing to urge you to vote “no” on House bill 5917, sponsored by Rep Vaupe, which would prohibit local governments from enacting rules that regulate pet shops. If this bill passes, any city or county wishing to prohibit pet shops from selling puppy mill puppies would be unable to do so. Ordinances already passed by Michigan cities to prohibit the sale of puppy mills would e revoked. This bill we e considered on the floor of the House next week.

Step 3: Identify the Decision Maker

  • When planning, it is important to think about who is going to be making any decisions regarding the issue you are concerned about. Will it be Congress? Is there a subcommittee? Your local Mayor? Focus all communication and efforts engaging those who will be a part of the decision making process for your particular issue.

Step 4: Affiliate/Build Coalition

  • Strength comes in numbers. Connect with local groups and organizations who share your goal and build and mobilize grass roots efforts. Because elected officials really listen to their constituents, the more stakeholders you can engage in your efforts, the better.

Step 5: Identify Opportunities to Engage

  • One of the most effective ways to bring your issue to an elected officials attention is by engaging with them in a variety of ways. Attending town hall meetings, writing letters, inviting staff to events and conducting in person meetings are all great ways to communicate your goal.

More tips:

  • Be prepared: have information, questions and expertise readily available.
  • Be professional: dress the part! Engage in polite, respectful way and be mindful of body language and your overall approach. Refrain from things like gum chewing and having your cell phone.
  • Be Persistent: offer your assistance, write thank you notes and maintain contact.
ANIMAL WELFARE ARTICLES

Advocating on your own animals’ behalf

 

FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES

Use the links below to find out who represents you. The more your elected officials hear from you, their constituent, on animal welfare issues, the more likely they are to make it a priority for them to address. Your phone call, email or personal visit makes an impact!

Find Your Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti (local) Representatives

Ann Arbor City Government Website: Find your Ann Arbor City Council Representatives

Ypsilanti City Government Website: Find your Ypsilanti City Council Representatives

Other City Contacts: Saline City CouncilPlymouth City Government

Washtenaw County Government Website: Find your Washtenaw County Elected Officials

Find your Michigan (state) Representatives

Michigan House of Representatives Website: Find your State Representative

Michigan Senate Website: Find your State Senator

Find your Federal (national) Representatives

U.S. House of Representatives Website: Find your Congressional Representative

U.S. Senate: Contact Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow

Our Positions
Baby deer nuzzing Doe

THE ANN ARBOR DEER CULL

The Humane Society of Huron Valley is supportive of developing an educational and non-lethal method of managing animal/human conflicts in our community. Because our organization works with many instances of such conflicts with wildlife, we know that there are many effective ways to solve these problems without the use of violence. As such a progressive city, it is our hope that Ann Arbor will consider being at the forefront for setting a new standard of solving human/animal conflicts. Similar to the successful plan implemented in Rochester Hills, Michigan, we advocate for education, strategies to alert drives to high deer traffic areas and the development of a committee to assist and educate residents who are struggling with wildlife conflicts in their neighborhood. See our printable Deer Management Position Statement.

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Our organization was asked to present at the February 5, 2015 Ann Arbor public meeting regarding a deer management project but were only given the option to present on the topic of “Immunocontraception in deer.” Although we have extensive experience in working with wildlife, we do not currently have any experience in sterlizing deer nor do we, as a nonprofit organization, have the resources to do the necessary research and field work without support from the City of Ann Arbor. Recognizing that we are not experts in the field of deer sterilization, we recommended someone who is an expert and would come to the city for free or very low cost but our offer was declined. We encouraged the city to contact Laura Simon, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Field Director for the Urban Wildlife Department, as she was readily available to help. The Citizens for Safe Deer Management urged the City to meet with someone from HSUS regarding deer sterilization, offered to pay for any cost incurred, and on July 13, 2015, they met with Stephanie Boyles-Griffin, Senior Director at HSUS who presented on “Use of Fertility Control to Manage Urban White-Tailed Deer Populations” and spent days in Ann Arbor assessing the potential for a deer fertility control project here.  She concluded it was feasible and extended an invitation to work with Ann Arbor, as can be seen in this report.

On August 17, 2015, Ann Arbor City Council Members voted 8-1 to start a four-year plan to kill deer in the City of Ann Arbor, starting with 100 deer this winter. Mayor Christopher Taylor opposed this move, saying he was aware there is not a community consensus on this issue.

As an organization dedicated to animal welfare, this concerns us greatly on many levels and for many reasons. We will continue to work on this issue and help educate the community. To oppose the hiring of sharpshooters to kill deer in Ann Arbor, please contact City Council.

The Humane Society of Huron Valley continues to offer to be a resource on this issue and any issue that is a concern to humans and animals in our community.  We look forward to opportunities to partner with the City of Ann Arbor to provide education to our residents and work towards a successful and safe conflict management plan.

To learn more about this issue, please see our website StopTheShoot.org. See our printable Deer Management Position Statement here.

Sandhill Crane, photo by Joan Tisdale

SR 30 - SANDHILL CRANE HUNT

Sandhill Cranes are believed to be our oldest living bird species — over 9 million years. They mate for life, their babies stay with them for a year, and their populations recover slowly, in part because each breeding pair usually has only one chick per year that survives. The Humane Society of Huron Valley opposes Senate Resolution 30 which urges the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to designate Sandhill Cranes as a game species, and to seek permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to open a hunting season on them.

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SR 30 urges the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to add Sandhill cranes to the game species list and seek U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval to establish annual recreational Sandhill crane hunting seasons in Michigan.

One hundred years ago, the Sandhill crane population was near extinction in Michigan due to hunting and diminishing wetland habitats. While the bird’s population recovered, it did so at a very slow pace.

Instead of celebrating successful conservation, SR 30 aims to destroy it. We believe Sandhill Crane hunt is cruel and reverses conservation efforts by killing or orphaning dependent young.

Sandhill Cranes are monogamous, mate for life, and stay with their mates year-round as bonded pairs. Both parents work together to raise their offspring. When hatched, chicks can leave the nest within a day under parental supervision; however, chicks are still dependent on both parents well into and past the fall hunting season and before these birds can migrate to their wintering grounds.  Given their slow reproduction, harming an adult or offspring makes the Sandhill crane population extremely vulnerable.

Farmers experiencing conflicts with Sandhill cranes can obtain non-lethal deterrence products to make seeds unpalatable to birds, or as a last resort, request a permit for lethal control of the problem birds. Conducting a hunting season in the fall serves no wildlife management purpose.

From the standpoint of a humane organization, we are very concerned that a Sandhill Crane hunt is cruel and could orphan dependent young. Sandhill Cranes are monogamous, and mate for life—which can mean two decades or more—and they stay with their mates year-round as bonded pairs. Both Sandhill Crane parents work together to raise their chicks. When the chicks are hatched in late spring, they are able to leave the nest within a day under the supervision of the parents. However, the chicks continue to be dependent upon both parents well into and past the hunting season, which occurs in the fall. If Michigan opens a hunting season before these Sandhill Crane family units migrate to their wintering grounds, either parent, or the still-dependent young, could be killed in that hunt. There is no justification for potentially destroying families of this still-recovering species, simply to sell a few hunting licenses. If farmers encounter conflicts with Sandhill cranes in the spring, they can obtain non-lethal deterrence products to make their seeds unpalatable to birds, or as a last resort, they can request a permit for lethal control of the problem birds. Conducting a hunting season in the fall serves no wildlife management purpose.

Please join us in opposing SR 30 by writing the Michigan State Senate. A sample email is below.

I oppose SR 0030 (SR 30) urging the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to designate Sandhill cranes as a game species and seeking U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval to establish a Sandhill crane hunting season.

One hundred years ago, Michigan’s Sandhill crane population was near extinction due to hunting and diminishing wetland habitats. The bird’s population recovered at a very slow pace and still remains vulnerable. 

Instead of celebrating a successful conservation effort, SR 30 seeks to destroy it.

A Sandhill crane hunt reverses conservation efforts by orphaning dependent young. Chicks are hatched in late spring, but dependent on both parents well into and past the fall hunting season. If Michigan hunts Sandhill cranes before they migrate to wintering grounds, either parent could be killed.  There is no justification for destroying families of a still-recovering species.

A Sandhill crane hunt serves no wildlife management purpose.  The recovery of a threatened population is not science-based rationale to open a hunting season.

A Sandhill crane hunt does not prevent conflict with crops.  There is no evidence that hunting Sandhill cranes would reduce damage to crops.  Farmers can already obtain non-lethal, more effective deterrence products to make their seeds unpalatable to birds, or as a last resort, request a permit to lethally remove Sandhill cranes when necessary.

Lost dog and cat sign

STRAY HOLD LAW

Approximately 70% of households own one or more pets in Michigan, equaling an estimated 4.7 million dogs and cats.  Most are considered a beloved part of the family.  According to national figures, one in three of these pets will get lost at some point during their lifetime, causing great distress to their human guardians.  As a result, most communities throughout the United States have designated stray hold facilities whose role it is to be a safe haven where families can find their lost pets. Since 1969, licensed shelters in Michigan that take in strays have been required to follow a 4 or 7 day (depending on if the animal has ID) stray hold law (MCL 287.388) for animals found loose without an owner.  We are in favor of the Stray Hold Law, and while we desperately need this bill, HSHV opposes it in its current state based on several flaws.

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Since 1969, licensed shelters in Michigan that take in strays have been required to follow a 4 or 7 day (depending on if the animal has ID) stray hold law (MCL 287.388) for animals found loose without an owner.  This law has been strictly enforced by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the department that licenses animal shelters.  However, after being legally challenged by a large, private Michigan shelter, MDARD has recently notified all shelters that it will no longer be enforcing the current stray hold law (based on its being located in a section of the law pertaining to the use of dogs and cats in research).

The stray hold law ensures that owners have a chance to find their lost companion animal.  Without a stray hold law, an animal entering a shelter can be immediately adopted, transferred to another facility/group, or put to death without giving owners even one day to find their lost pet.  And even if owners find their lost pet in a shelter, without a stray hold law, the shelter has no obligation to return them to their rightful owners.

Following MDARD’s announcement, Michigan now stands nearly alone in the absence of a state mandated stray hold.  The Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) firmly believes in the importance of stray hold times as a basic and essential protection for pets and their owners, and will continue to follow the policies we already have in place.  So while pets and pet owners in Washtenaw County are safe (as long as the animals don’t cross county lines), many in Michigan are now in a precarious position.

HB 4915 was introduced by Representative Mike McCready to help rectify this issue.  While we desperately need this bill, HSHV opposes it in its current state based on two serious flaws:    

1)    Cats as second-class pets:  The bill reduces stray hold times to “zero days” for cats that are “candidates for adoption or sterilization programs.”  Though we strongly support a bill that promotes Trap, Neuter and Return — where unowned cats are sterilized and returned to their original location — as the only proven effective means of reducing overpopulation, the vague use of the word “candidate” leaves the option to euthanize stray cats at intake, as sadly many Michigan shelters would still prefer to do.  Further, we believe “adoptable” cats, like dogs, should also be held for the minimum hold times of 4 or 7 days to give owners a chance to find them.

  • We recommend the same hold time for both dogs and cats, and support clear provisions for sterilization programs that return cats to their original location.  Even if a lost cat is mistaken for an outdoor/feral cat, returning them to their original location is more likely to help them to get back home.  One study found that cats left mainly to their own devices are 13 times more likely to find their way back home than those that end up at a shelter.

2)    Wide discretion to euthanize before hold times have expired:  The bill also states that “(A) AN ANIMAL THAT WOULD BE SUBJECTED TO UNDUE SUFFERING” can be immediately euthanized.   Though we agree with the essence of this statement, the language gives too much discretion to shelters to define “suffering.”  Many common or treatable conditions such as fear, arthritis, blindness, contagious disease, or old age could be used as justification to immediately put a lost animal (dog or cat) to death, without regard to hold times.

  • We recommend a definition of suffering as suggested by Nathan Winograd, Director of the No-Kill Advocacy Center.Irremediable physical suffering” means an animal who has a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe unremitting pain even with comprehensive, prompt, and necessary veterinary care, as determined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in the state.”     

Respecting and promoting the loving bond between people and their companion animals should be at the core of animal sheltering work.  Basic stray hold times applied consistently to both dogs and cats, and clear definitions around justification for euthanasia provide important protections to both people and animals.  HSHV and our supporters want to see increased adoptions and sterilizations, and the elimination of unnecessary shelter euthanasia across the state—not stripping families of the right to reclaim their lost animals.

Photo by George Potter on Unsplash

PETTING ZOOS

Petting zoos are sold as fun learning experiences for children, but instead are artificial environments designed simply for entertainment that are bad for animals and people. Animals used in entertainment suffer from abuse and neglect, deprived of the care they require to meet their social, behavioral and physical needs.  They are kept in unnatural housing, not fed a proper diet, and suffer from fear, stress and boredom during transport and living in captivity and overcrowded conditions. We are opposed to petting zoos.

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There are no required standards nor regulatory oversight for petting zoos. Basic animal welfare standards are not followed related to veterinary care, diet, housing, bedding and expression of natural behaviors.  Animals at petting zoos are often not properly protected from the elements, forced to stand all day long in the sun during the hot summer months without access to shade or adequate water.

Frequently petting zoos breed or buy baby animals so there is always an ample stock of adorable babies to entertain customers, but those young animals are usually taken from their mothers too soon, are not provided with proper care and socialization, and must endure the stress of being transported from place to place.  Like the adult animals, they have no refuge from the stresses of constant human interaction.

Petting zoos are also known to be a health risk to humans, especially children, as a common source of zoonotic disease spread, including dangerous infections caused by exposure to E. Coli.

Living with Wildlife

Love them or hate them, urban wildlife are here.  While humans expand and develop land for our own needs, we’re finding ourselves living closer to animals who are finding themselves with less habitat and adapting to ours. As such, human/wildlife conflicts emerge– though there are many things we can do to prevent it!

What to do about:

Photo of Chimney Swift by Dominic Sherony on Flickr
CHIMNEY SWIFTS

It’s a flying cigar… it’s a plane… it’s a chimney swift! As their name implies these migratory birds often make their nests in uncapped chimneys. Before the advent of European settlers to North America they would build nests in hollow trees and caves.

Want to keep your chimney free and clear of unwanted nest materials? All you have to do is put a cap on your chimney during the winter months when the chimney swifts have migrated south. That way you ensure there are no young birds caught in your chimney. If you would like to help the chimney swifts find an alternative nesting site you can building a nesting tower. Here are some plans to get you started!

To help deter chimney swifts from nesting in your home, try this strategy:

  • Cap your chimney in the winter.
Photo by Pat H on Unsplash
COYOTES

Though coyotes originally only lived in the grasslands of the western United States and Canada, they can now be found across the United States.  These adaptive animals have long been persecuted because of their reputation as livestock predators.  Those living in urban/suburban settings are more likely to be concerned for the safety of their companion animals.  While coyotes are predators who eat smaller animals, they are generally wary of humans and will avoid preying on animals who are accompanied by their human companions.

If you are concerned about your own pet’s safety, you need not worry much!  You can easily protect your companion animal by accompanying them while outside.  This is especially true at night, as coyotes are nocturnal animals.  Free roaming cats are the most likely domestic animals to be victims of coyotes, so cats should be kept indoors as much as possible.  If that is not feasible, it is important to make sure cats have a vertical space where they can escape (a tree, a tall wooden post, etc.)

To coexist peacefully with coyotes, try implementing these strategies:

  • Refrain from leaving any pet foot outside overnight
  • Continue to keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
  • Accompany companion animals while outdoors
  • If you encounter a bold coyote who is active during the day and/or does not seem intimidated by human presence it is important to get across the message that you are a threat. This can be done without harming the coyote by shouting, banging loud objects or spraying them with a hose.
Photo by Cairomoon on Pixabay
GROUNDHOGS

Groundhogs spend most of their time trying to consume sufficient food in order to have enough fat to survive hibernation, and they are attracted to areas where they can find food and feel safe. While they may be considered a pest to gardeners and homeowners, groundhogs are in fact very gentle and often just looking for their next meal. They don’t wander far from their den openings, so by deterring them from living in your yard you can greatly reduce the chances of them wandering through.

Worried about groundhogs building burrows in your lawn? These solitary creatures enjoy living in transitional areas like the edge of a field or in a prairie next to a forest. If you keep debris such as loose stones, woodpiles or compost piles cleaned up then groundhogs feel exposed and are significantly less likely to live in your yard.

To help deter groundhogs from coming near your home or garden try implementing these strategies:

  • Remove any woodpiles, loose stones or groundcover from the area to deter them
  • Place used cat litter around groundhog burrows; they will feel like predators are in the area and not want to live there
  • Place shiny plastic strips or other shiny items like old cd’s near burrow entrances. This will make groundhogs feel like predators are around.
  • Put up fencing around your home, porch or garden. Remember to bury it at least 8-12 inches down and then another 10 inches away from the structure in an L shape.
Photo by Chris Child on Unsplash
MUTE SWANS

Not native to the United States, mute swans were originally brought the North America to decorate the ponds and lakes of large estates and parks.  The mute swan population has expanded over the years and they can now be found across the U.S. It is not legal to hunt mute swans in Michigan.

Mute swans are not likely to cause conflicts with people, but some people are concerned about their perceived aggressiveness.  Mute swans are known to be very protective of their nests, especially if a female swan is incubating her eggs.  To prevent conflict simply avoid approaching swans, especially if they are nesting or with their cygnets (babies).  To further prevent conflict with mute swans you may try:

  • Use mild pestering, such as putting up a scarecrow or using Mylar tape, to make your property uninviting.
  • Certain repellents may be sprayed on grass to make it undesirable as a food source.
Photo by daynaw3990 on Pixabay
OPOSSUMS

Myths abound about these helpful and misunderstood creatures. Opossums may have a scary look but they are actually quite gentle and have some very beneficial behaviors. They eat ticks and can’t get rabies or many other illnesses due to their low body temperature.

Opossums will keep to themselves and are transient, often spending most of their time wandering around looking for food. While they are mostly nocturnal, it is not unusual to spot one during the day. They may wander into your yard, but they won’t stay for long.

The best thing to do if you spot an opossum in your yard is to wait them out; chances are they will move along soon. You can also:

  • Keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
  • Block off any openings under decks, porches or sheds
Photo by Guillaume Bourdages on Unsplash
RACCOONS

These bandit-masked animals are believed to be just as intelligent as cats and dogs.  Because they are also highly dexterous and resourceful some people find themselves in opposition to these clever animals.  While raccoons used to only be found in forests they have learned to adapt to living in urban and suburban environments as their natural habitats have been destroyed.  Raccoons love to seize an easy opportunity, so unsecured garbage bins and accessible pet food encourage raccoon visitors.  Similarly, small openings that allow access to attics, chimneys or garages are appealing to raccoons looking for a den.

Raccoons generally do not pose a threat to humans, but can cause damage to property.  The easiest way to avoid conflict with raccoons is prevention!  Follow these tips to avoid potential raccoon problems:

  • Refrain from leaving any pet foot outside overnight
  • Continue to keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
  • Secure pet doors and close off small openings to attics and chimneys
  • Make your home space less appealing to raccoons with mild harassment such as bright lights or loud music
  • Place fences around gardens
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SKUNKS

A gentle creature with many beneficial behaviors, skunks can be unnecessarily feared by humans because of their pungent smelling spray. Skunks are not aggressive in nature and will rarely bother humans. Because their eyes don’t clearly define what is in front of them, it may appear that they are approaching humans when in fact, they are harmlessly walking about in search of food. Munching mostly on small rodents, insects and grubs, skunks are great at natural pest control and tend to enjoy the critters that many humans don’t.

Fearful of being sprayed? When a skunk is feeling threatened, he/she will give several warning signs before spraying. These include stomping their front feet, lifting their tail and hissing. It is when humans or our unleashed pets don’t heed their warnings that these docile animals feel the need to further protect themselves and use their powerful spray. If you come across a skunk, moving away slowly and quietly will help ensure that a skunk will keep their spray to themselves.

To help deter skunks from coming near your home, try implementing these strategies:

  • Refrain from leaving any pet foot outside overnight
  • Keep dogs leashed or in a fenced area at all times, especially at night
  • Place a seed tray under bird feeders to prevent seeds from falling to the ground, which can attract some wildlife
  • Continue to keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
  • Block off any openings under decks, porches or sheds
  • Secure all outbuildings to prevent skunks from wandering into them
Photo by Caleb Martin on Unsplash
SQUIRRELS

Whether you live in the city, country or somewhere in-between you’re likely to have crossed paths with a squirrel.  Some species of squirrel, like the fox squirrel, have actually learned to thrive amongst human populations.  For the most part, squirrels and humans can exist side-by-side without conflict, but occasionally undesirable situations can arise.

Some people are put off by squirrels raiding bird feeders.  Fortunately, there are many bird feeders on the market these days that prevent squirrels from being able to reach the food in bird feeders.  If squirrels emptying the bird feeder is a problem, you could also consider only filling your bird feeder with foods that appeal to birds but not squirrels, such as white millet seed, Niger thistle and safflower seed.

To further prevent conflicts with squirrels, consider the following:

  • Close off small openings to attics and chimneys
  • Purchase bird feeders that do not allow squirrels access to food
  • Continue to keep garbage secured in bins that do not allow wildlife access
Photo by Skeeze on Pixabay
TRUMPETER SWANS

These elegant birds with snowy white feathers are a protected species in Michigan.  It is not legal to hunt or harass trumpeter swans.  Trumpeter swans can be distinguished from mute swans by their black beaks, as opposed to mute swans’ orange bill.

Trumpeter swans are not likely to cause conflicts with people, but some people are concerned about their perceived aggressiveness.  Trumpeter swans are known to form strong familial bonds and are very protective of their nests, especially if a female swan is incubating her eggs.  To prevent conflict simply avoid approaching swans, especially if they are nesting or with their cygnets (babies).  To further prevent conflict with trumpeter swans you may try:

  • Use mild pestering, such as putting up a scarecrow or using Mylar tape, to make your property uninviting.
  • Certain repellents may be sprayed on grass to make it undesirable as a food source.

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