University of Maryland Extension

March Wildlife Tips

spring peeper in grass
Spring peeper. Photo courtesy of David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

(More tips from HGIC)

Occurrences:

  • Those delightful peeping sounds you may be hearing in your neighborhood are spring peepers, a very tiny frog (photo above) that lays its eggs in marshes, ponds and slow-moving drainage ditches.  Many other frogs, including wood, tree, and pickerel frogs are also becoming active.
  • Eastern garter snakeOne of the earliest reptiles to come out of hibernation is the Eastern Garter Snake. This is a very common and attractive snake that ranges in adult size from 2-3 feet long. Their typical background color is a dark brown or black with a yellow stripe down the back and two narrower stripes down each side. Their background color can be variable; instead of being dark some garter snakes are a light greenish brown some even have a little red in them. The three stripes are always there. Small white diamond-like spots may also be visible going down the sides of its back. Garter snakes are completely harmless. To learn more about this and other snakes, refer to PDF HG 64 and watch our snake videos.

Attracting:

  • Black oil sunflower seeds and suet cakes are a good choice to attract and feed a wide variety of birds. To attract your favorite species you have to provide the right combination of food and feeders. Visit Project Feeder Watch for feeder types and what to feed birds.  Wild bird stores are good sources for feeders and seed. Make sure to keep all feeders clean.

  • Many birds are now actively scouting your landscape for a place to nest this spring. Now is the time to put up a birdhouse (nest box) in your yard to encourage nesting. Clean out and inspect existing nest boxes in your yard to make sure they are in good condition for the breeding season.

  • You can watch birds raise their young and also receive free pest control. Birds feed on many insects. Some bird species that use birdhouses (nest boxes) are bluebirds (PDF FS 799), purple martins (PDF FS 792), tree swallows, and wrens.

Nuisance:

  • Moles and voles are becoming more active. Moles create raised tunnels in lawns. Control by tamping down tunnels with your foot whenever they appear. Moles do not necessarily indicate a white grub problem. They feed on a wide range of soil critters. Voles create tunnels underground or runways on the surface that are not raised. Look for entrance holes about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Sometimes tunnels are shallow and are open along the soil surface. Voles feed on plant roots, bark, or the entire plant. Where voles are a problem try using mouse snap traps baited with apples. Cover with a shingle or piece of wood to increase effectiveness.

  • Where deer are feeding on garden and landscape plants, apply a repellent, such as “Deer-Away”, “Hinder” or “Ro-Pel” to vulnerable plants. If deer pressure is heavy, try rotating repellents. Small deodorant soap bar and other types of repellents are used with some success. But fencing is the best option for keeping deer away.
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