The Coastal Post - April, 1997

Spring Wildlife Check List

BY KAREN NAKAMURA

Spring is here. Time to check out new ideas on how to be friendly to Marin wild things. Now's the time to do something about the feral cat in the neighborhood eating the birds. It's not just wild cats we need to worry about, it's our sweet tabby chowing down on breast of baby bird, as well. Should we lock sweet thing in the house during the few, short days baby flaps its wings and tries to fly?

We bring flock numbers up with every baby that lives. Land bird numbers are still decreasing. However, did anyone else notice the migrating flocks seem bigger this year? Is that an omen of the renewal to come?

Another factor is food. Can the parents find a supply of nutritious food in your area? Book stores, the library and WildCare have information on feeding needs.

Check with places like Wild, Wild Birds in San Anselmo that sell a whole line of wild bird products. Gardening shops are also a good source. Grow a couple nutritious plants in your garden that also attract indigenous or migrating insects like butterflies and ladybugs.

If you can do it without a health risk, let insects lay their eggs in your worm and/or compost pile. Grubs provide necessary protein for those hungry babies.

Has anyone figured out how to build a nesting haven like those for beach birds for our highly endangered quail ? Quail nest on the ground and are very susceptible.

If you find a fallen nest and the babies are obviously in danger, take them to WildCare at 76 Albert Park Lane in San Rafael. They do an excellent job and need volunteers to help with feedings during the coming months.

Please don't kill bees and wasps. They've taken a beating the last couple of years what with the floods and mites. Instead of killing them, try to find a safe place for the hive. It may require professionals, but what happens if our fruit trees aren't pollinated?

When Sir Francis Drake wrote about Marin, he said the hills were covered with California poppies. Maybe the parks could raise funds by selling packs of native flower seeds for people to scatter on their hikes through the hills.

Got some more ideas? Share them with us. In the meantime, celebrate the life around you.