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Outdoors Insider

Please don’t feed the animals!

Animals of the River Valley
—most live there year-round unless they've migrated somewhere much warmer, but it's really not until the summer months that the majority of Edmontonians venture down to the banks of the Saskatchewan River for some fun and recreation. Below are some of the forest friends you might encounter there and some tips and facts you might
not have know about them.

Downy Woodpecker
You'll know them when you hear them, but if you're only going by sight, they're black and white and the male has a red patch on the back of his head. Pecking's pretty much their life as they do it to attract a mate, let other's know their tree is taken, find some lunch or build a nest.

Ladies leave your messy buns at home! Unless you like having an owl swoop down to pick up that “rodent” on your head. Other than that, see how many varieties of owls you can spot in the River Valley, like Great Horned, Barred and Snowy. They stick together as a family until the end of the summer, so you may see more than one of these birds of prey at once.

Keep an eye on Fido, even in off-leash areas. Dogs have been known to go after swimming beavers, but beavers are tough—they cut down trees with their teeth!—and will definitely fight back. Don't let your dog loose when beavers are nearby.

All across North America coyotes are becoming urban animals, and it's easier to co-exist with them than to try and move them elsewhere. If you see one, act as intimidating as possible by raising your arms and shouting so that they continue to keep their distance from humans, according to edmontonurbancoyotes.ca.

They are aggressive! Just give them their space and don't feed them. If they become dependant on humans it will delay their migration. Plus, stale crackers and bread have little nutritional value for birds anyway. This includes ducks and gulls.

Baby bunnies might be super cute, but if you take them home because you don't see the mama around, you're actually kidnapping them. A mother hare leaves her babies for most of the day so her scent won't attract predators.

These guys are not Bambi, and if they feel you're too close and they have no room to flee, you're gonna get charged and it's gonna hurt! Don't approach fawns either; the
mother is always within close proximity to her baby.

Garter Snakes
The three species of garter found in Alberta are not dangerous for humans, but don't take them home—they belong in the wild. And if you see that little forked tongue sticking out, the snake is just checking the air for chemicals in food or pheromones.


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