• A report of less wildlife in our yard


    I live in NE Geauga Co (4 miles east of hambden). We normally have 4 species of squirrel and many wild birds in our yard. Normally this is time squirrels are very active hiding nuts. And we'd be filling bird feeders multiple times during week. In the past couple weeks I’ve seen NO squirrels and very few birds. What might be causing this change? I miss my wildlife!

    Naturalist's Response

    Sorry to hear about your diminished wildlife sightings!

    We haven’t seen any sudden decrease in the countywide population of birds or squirrels;  it seems like whatever’s spooked the wildlife in your yard is very localized.

    It’s hard to state a definitive cause over the internet, but one “prime suspect” is the possibility that a new predator has moved in.

    Sometimes when a hawk or owl moves into someone’s yard, there will be a sudden decrease in visits by small birds and mammals.

    (Terrestrial predators, like a new den of foxes, raccoons or coyotes, might scare off squirrels, but they usually have no effect on birds.)

    A second possibility could be that a nearby neighbor has increased their wildlife feeding; if that’s the case, all your “customers” might be over at the new buffet!

    If you’ve been providing bird seed and a source of water, it’s likely that wildlife will start returning to your feeders as we head into the “lean times” of autumn and winter.

    Keep an eye out for hawks and owls, and let us know what you find!

    -Naturalist Chris Mentrek