How you can help animals this dry summer

The New West
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Like a bolt of lightning, spring is over and we are ushering in summer. If you are like most people, you might even feel a bit overwhelmed trying to prepare for the upcoming Oregon summer.

One of the things that should be on your priority list is helping outdoor critters handle the heat. Between the ongoing drought, and expected heat waves, there is sure to be a shortage of water for some of them.

Whether you live in a small apartment or a spacious house with a large lawn, you can utilize your space to give nature a helping hand this summer.

The most important things are that all critters need water and food to survive. While you might not be able to directly supply the food, you certainly can contribute to the water.

First, you need to consider your community, your home specifically, and the animals most likely to need a helping hand. For instance, if you live in North Bend, on the coast, you will need a different setup than someone living in downtown Bend, which has a drastically different climate and local wildlife.

Where to place your water sources:

  • Garden area
  • Driveway (far enough up the drive that cars won’t hit it.)
  • Patio or porch
  • Window boxes
  • Deck
  • Anywhere else that makes sense on your property

What to put water in for wildlife:

  • Large pet bowls can be a great way to help larger numbers of creatures or just a few that are very thirsty. For instance, you may discover that a raccoon family has taken over or that the feral cats in the neighborhood are dominant.
  • Smaller pet bowls are a good choice if your space is more limited. Additionally, these are good if you want to attract smaller guests.
  • Any container with smooth, wide edges
  • Additionally, you can place small rocks in the little containers. This will help birds and even bees to get a break from flying while hydrating up.

Important things to remember:

  • It is imperative that you size the containers well for what you want to attract, especially if you live in a rural area. If you put out larger containers on the perimeter of your property, you should expect larger guests that are in your area. Deer, elk, bears and more are possible in Oregon.
  • Stray cats, possums, raccoons and other small animals that reside in cities are going to need water as well. You can even make a little game out of it by placing a camera with night vision to watch little raccoons grooming themselves and more.
  • Small containers can be a welcome site for the littlest among us. Bees are an important part of our ecosystem that need to be supported. A small, smooth container with a few stones can provide them with a little drink when needed. A couple of native flowering plants nearby are a bonus.
  • Change the water every day, no less than every other day. You want to be sure that the water is fresh, and that mosquitos are not given the opportunity to breed.

We are all stewards of the planet and need to do our part to care for it. Helping thirsty animals and small creatures is something that virtually everyone can do.

What about you? Do you put out water for animals, or are you considering it? Let us know in the comments below!

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Fun stories and interesting facts from the Pacific NW and around the country. With a focus on Oregon, I will also talk about various environmental happenings in the western US.

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