With the cooler nights this week, you should start to notice fall colors appearing in the trees. You might also begin to notice more migration of wildlife in the coming weeks. Many species of songbirds and waterfowl have nesting areas in Illinois and points north, and their wintering areas are in the southern states, as well as, in central and south America.
The cooler weather can also cause movements or migrations of other wildlife locally within their home range. For example, mice attempt to migrate into our homes this time of year. So, make a quick inspection of the outside of your home for cracks, crevices and holes that might provide access for mice. Any openings or hole that is the diameter of a pencil or larger can provide access for house mice. Therefore, caulk these openings or make home repairs to prevent easy access by mice.
In your landscape, another rodent the vole may move into tall grass or un-mowed areas in your yard or farm. Voles live in tall grassy areas and can cause damage to young trees, sometimes even killing them by eating the inner bark around the tree. Mow the grass short around young trees in your landscape or orchard. However, take care not to damage the tree’s bark when mowing.
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In the fall, the movement of white-tailed deer also increases. Their movement is more of a shift within the home range of their habitat as they move into forested areas for the winter. Food sources, such as acorns in these woodlands have a higher source of carbohydrates for energy during the colder months. Deer will also utilize waste grain in agricultural fields, so movements between these two types of habitat are common.
The fall breeding season also increases the movement of deer. These increases in movement may put you at a higher risk of coming in contact with a deer while driving on the highway. So, be extra vigilant for deer as they cross roadways between woodlands and harvested agriculture fields in the evening hours, from dusk to dawn. Of course deer usually travel in groups, so when you see one deer, watch for more!
When driving this fall slow down, enjoy the fall tree colors, and watch for deer and of course our local farmers working to get their harvest completed. If you have questions or need more information contact the University of Illinois Extension office in Arthur at 217-543-3755.
For more information on University of Illinois Extension programming in Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby counties, visit our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/index.html or call us at 217-345-7034. The University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the extension office at 217-345-7034.