Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 5:18 PM on Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Protect the baby birds; keep your dogs, cats under control

Its that time of year again when all pet owners should try to keep their cats and dogs contained and under control at least until the baby bird season is over, which is about the end of July. I have already seen several dogs running free in the vicinity of Seaside Farm, and roaming the elds and beaches. Would their owners please keep them home and on a leash during this critical time ?

You might be surprised to know that even when your dog is walking beside you on a line he can stray over into the grass and grab a mouthful of bird eggs or edglings beside the trail, and you might not even notice, it happens so fast. The nests, eggs and babies of ground nesters such as cranes, spruce grouse, pheasants and many local songbirds are easy pickings for dogs running loose, and in even just a few minutes they can wreak havoc.

Sandhill crane colts are especially vulnerable in the Homer area and many have been killed each year by stray dogs. Please do not let this happen. After ying thousands of miles to get here and settle down to raise a family, the least we can all do for our feathered friends is respect their needs for just a few months until their babies are able to y.

Of course cats also are a menace when roaming outside the house and should be kept indoors during nesting season. Bells on a cat cannot prevent ightless baby birds from getting killed. For each parent bird that is killed while nesting a whole family may die for lack of food. And every bird that dies whether by dog, cat, window strike or land clearing activity is one less bird returning next spring to raise its family and keep the species alive for all of us to enjoy through future generations.

Mossy Kilcher