Grit Blogs > Nature and Gardening at the Edge

Don't Mess with WIld Mamas

Flycatch hovering after dive bombinb  

Summer time brings babies and protective Mamas. I may start wearing a hat to get the mail as the flycatchers are nested in a tree by the road and always remind me that I am too close when I pass by daily. So far, their dive bombing as stopped before they actually made contact and I hope it stays that way. They really don’t like the dog or cat and I suppose that I am suspect by association.

A more aggressive species, paper wasps also defended their nest against me this week. In that instance, I was simply changing an outdoor light bulb and trying to let them be. Again, I was deemed too close.

Sometimes it is hard to stay out of trouble. When further afield it is always a good idea to watch out for wildlife. Adorable bear cubs, deer or antelope fawns or calf elk can bring on serious attacks. You will not be seen as innocent because you did not know the young were there! If you notice wildlife, particularly the larger varieties standing their ground, not running away as you might normally expect, retreat immediately! Backing away while keeping an eye on Mama might be a good strategy. No photo of young wildlife is worth the wrath of the Mama.

Avoid nesting sites, thickets, caves and other possible dens at this time of year. Estes Park is a popular day trip in this area. Because it is adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, deer and elk not only come into the city limits but occasionally have young there. People have been seriously injured by trampling when they unwittingly stepped outside their doors into the nursery. Of course most of us do not live where wildlife is so close but such examples can serve to keep us on the alert.

Another problem that occasionally occurs is finding of unattended young animals. Almost every instance plays out to be an animal that is left in hiding by the foraging parents and not actually abandoned. Grazing animals such as deer and rabbits often leave their young for extended periods. Not only is the return of Mama to be avoided but generally the young animal is best left alone for its own protection. Your attention can draw the attention of pets that can cause problems or wild predators.

Adopting baby animals is not a good strategy either. Long term care of wildlife is not feasible or a good idea. In most instances we cannot provide appropriate nutrition or care. Virtually every state, county and municipality has laws against keeping wildlife as pets. Additionally wildlife usually suffers in the loss of their fear of people.

Avoid encounters with animal parents. Cherish any wild encounters that you might have but keep them brief and retreat as soon as possible. Like human babies, the baby stage passes quickly and they’ll soon be delighting us as they get a little bigger and more active.