Will a Mother Abandon a Bird my Child Picked Up?

It’s a common myth that wild animals will abandon their young because of the smell of a human hand. Animal parents have a strong instinct to nurture their babies, and many don’t have a sense of smell strong enough to even notice human handling. If your child has handled a baby animal and the animalContinue reading “Will a Mother Abandon a Bird my Child Picked Up?”

Can I Remove a Bird’s Nest?

Every year, tens of thousands of birds across the United States are illegally killed. It happens when apartment maintenance crews pressure-wash barn swallow nests from building sides. It happens when home owners “clean up” nests on their porches. It happens when store owners clear out the nests on their signs. Make no mistake: no matterContinue reading “Can I Remove a Bird’s Nest?”

How to Coexist with Black Bears

No animal exemplifies the spirit of Tennessee’s wilderness quite like the black bear. But, as these beautiful animals’ populations increase, they may occasionally be seen in town. A black bear seen in the suburbs does not need to be killed or removed, unless it is showing signs that it has become acclimated to humans. IfContinue reading “How to Coexist with Black Bears”

Killing Foxes Won’t Save Chickens

Killing a fox to protect your chickens is not only ineffective— it often makes matters worse. Foxes are territorial and will exist in any suitable habitat. When you kill a big, mature, chicken-eating fox, his territory will almost immediately be filled by two or three younger foxes. Even if you kill them too— even ifContinue reading “Killing Foxes Won’t Save Chickens”

Who You Callin’ Chicken Hawk?

In our area, many people still use the old term “chicken hawk” to refer to redtailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, and sharp-shinned hawks. This term is a misnomer. Although these birds will occasionally opportunistically prey on chickens that aren’t properly secured, chickens comprise only a tiny portion of their diets and are generally larger than theirContinue reading “Who You Callin’ Chicken Hawk?”

Scary Opossums!

Opossums have more teeth than any other land mammal, and when they’re scared, they like to use those scary-looking jaws to make themselves look intimidating. But don’t let this face fool you: opossums are actually very gentle, timid creatures who almost never bite or attack. They’re also naturally resistant (though not 100% immune) to rabies.Continue reading “Scary Opossums!”

What Happens When You Feed a Bear?

This story happens every year here in Tennessee, particularly in tourist-heavy areas like Gatlinburg. Bears— often nursing moms who are desperate for the extra food— will accept an offer of pet food from curious people who want to see them up close. The bear quickly realizes that pet food is a good snack, so sheContinue reading “What Happens When You Feed a Bear?”