That's John McNerney, Talkin' Turkey


John McNerney in the field

     Davis employs a wildlife biologist named John McNerney to oversee all things natural in the City.  John  has been on the show several times (all archived for your listening pleasure!). This time our discussion focussed on the turkeys and other 'wild' animals in the City and what people should or should NOT do in their interactions.  Although I hope you will listen to this entire episode; here's the main point Lois got from it -- DO NOT leave out food where the rats, turkeys, squirrels, skunks, opposums, or other animals can get to it.  That includes remnants of cat and dog food, as well as intentionally feeding them. Wild animals that become 'habituated' to people can cause problems.  Ah, you might say, but what about the little birds?  

     If you want to feed the finches, try hanging a seed feeder up high (and cleaning the ground below it); to attract little songbirds, let your yard have lots of leafy bushes and don't use pesticides; leaving leaves where they fall under bushes attracts the ground feeders; and offering a BIRD BATH near a bush outside your window lets you enjoy whoever is in your yard.

       Lois says: The easiest thing is to put out a hummingbird feeder.  [This is a commitment though. We DO have hummingbirds that live here year-round, so if you put up a feeder it's best to keep it going all the time.]  To be safe, one should bring in the feeder, empty it, clean it, and re-fill with sterilized sugar-water once a week (twice a week if we get over 90°). Don't wait until you can 'see' something growing in it.  The first things to grow in there will have no color and yet are producing toxins that can harm a hummer. Fill your feeder with 1:4 sugar-water (1/4 cup sugar for each 1 cup water) that you have boiled (we microwave ours) and let cool. DO NOT USE FOOD COLORING in the water; it is not useful to them and apparently can harm the birds.  (If you REALLY want something red, paint a bit on the outside of your feeder.)  

      If you have questions about anything on this show, you can leave a comment on the archive page at:

Post new comment