It’s officially the decorating season! For many, this marks the start of the holidays, and as such, it’s a chance to think about how you want your house to look over the next few months. And sure, we’ve thought about where we want this inflatable to be and we probably already have in mind where this string of lights may go. But before we jump head first into that, it might be a good time to consider another element that we perhaps haven't thought about before, and that’s how our decorating might impact the wildlife around us. And with a few practical tips that are easy to think about, we can create a wildlife-friendly yard for our furry and feathery friends to enjoy along with us.

What's Dangerous for Wildlife?

One of the biggest issues that seems to affect the wildlife during the decorating season is entanglement. It’s super easy for an animal to get caught up in fake spider webbing or a strand of light, and when that happens, it's difficult for animals such as birds to get out of. Think about it. Have you ever walked right into a spider web and flailed about until someone had to come and help you out? Or have you ever tripped over a cord because you didn’t know it was there? It’s definitely not fun and something we don’t want to expose our wildlife neighbors to if we can help it. It may seem like a small thing, but for them, it can certainly have an impact on their lifestyle, and maybe even cost them their life. For lights, the Ohio Wildlife Center recommends using, "multiple short strands of lights plugged together versus one long strand so that if animals become entangled, they will have less cord to deal with."

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How to Properly Use Lights

If we’re keen on using lights, it might be a good idea to make sure they are tightly wound around trees, or firmly placed on the ground. And of course, when they aren’t needed, make sure to unplug them.

Using Decorations Safely

There are many other ways to mitigate any issues while also allowing us to decorate our houses and yards to our heart's content. Perhaps consider putting the webbing on a solid area, such as a wall or even an indoor window, as recommended by the Wildlife Medical Clinic of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. And if you do use webbing, maybe just give it a check once or twice a day to make sure nothing is caught in it. Something as simple as just keeping an eye on it can go a long way in keeping animals safe.

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Safe Decor Alternatives

Another really solid idea that I came across is to use natural items as decorations, and it turns out, that a lot of us are already doing this! Using things like hay bales or corn stalks, and of course, pumpkins, will definitely go a long way to making sure our yard is safer for wildlife.

I hope that these tips have helped and may you have a safe and fun holiday season!

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