Living with Urban Wildlife

Julie Strom

Julie Strom

Pam Boedeker

Julie Strom, Pima County Natural Resources Program Director, was the guest speaker at the SaddleBrooke Nature Club December meeting.

Her topic was Living with Urban Wildlife.

Julie began her discussion defining wildlife as being anything living in our area from the largest mammals to the smallest insects. They benefit us in many ways. They help in food production by pollinating plants.

They help condition the soil. Population control by predators keeps the wildlife population healthy and strong. Our desert wildlife even helps by eating decaying materials thus cleaning up our desert.

Wildlife lifts our spirits and helps both our mental and physical health.

The Tucson area makes three million dollars a year thanks to those who travel here to experience our wildlife! Birding in particular brings people from all over the world.

Just like humans, wildlife needs to have food, water, shelter, space and others like them in order to reproduce. We need to find ways to meet their needs and ours as we encroach on each other’s territory.

It is unlawful to feed most wildlife except for birds or tree squirrels.

If fed by people, wildlife becomes less fearful, thus endangering them.

They also can become a real nuisance as they come back for more from neighbors who might not love having them around. If animals have to be removed from an area by Fish and Game they may have to be euthanized!

Bird feeders should not be placed in an open area. Trees and shrubs need to be close so the birds can escape if predators approach. Bird seed scattered on the ground is an open invitation to Pack Rats and other critters. The ground under a feeder should be kept clean.

Providing water for wildlife requires some diligence. Bird baths should be cleaned daily to prevent spread of disease. Water features should have running water.

Our pets need special attention both to protect them and our wildlife.

Do not get complacent just because you have a high wall. Cactus can be added outside the wall to make jumping more difficult. There are even rollers that can be purchased to keep pets in and animals out.

Quarter inch hardware cloth is recommended to block holes that might provide entrance into your home or patio area. This can also be used to protect plants. Door sweeps, caulking and weather stripping should be checked and replaced when needed.

Julie had much more information about protecting us and our wildlife.

Pima County is a great resource for brochures and help.

It’s time to renew or join SaddleBrooke Nature Club. Dues are $15 for individuals or $20 for households.

The guest speaker on January 11 will be Richard Gibson from Pinal County Extension Services. He will be talking about Arizona Agriculture with a focus on cotton.

SaddleBrooke Nature Club meets the second Monday at 4:00 p.m. in the Coyote Room downstairs in the HOA 1 Clubhouse. Check our website for further information.