Humans self-isolating due to coronavirus a ‘bonanza’ for Manitoba wildlife

Wild turkeys walk along a residential street. Collin Binkley/AP/The Canadian Press

Although the recent dumping of snow might have put a damper on things — at least for a few days —one of the byproducts of so many Manitobans self-isolating amid the coronavirus pandemic has been an increase in wildlife activity on our streets and in our yards.

Fort Whyte Alive’s Barrett Miller told 680 CJOB the animals were always there, but they’re using the lack of human activity outdoors to become a little more bold.

“As we’re not as active out on the streets — especially in our cars — the wildlife is feeling a little bit more confident,” he said.

“It’s not necessarily that they weren’t there before, it’s that things were staying hidden or more on the edges of the city, more in their standard riverside or parkside habitats and really just sort of realized that they have a little bit more safe place to explore lately.”

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Another aspect of the apparent wildlife resurgence, Miller said, is that people just have more time and fewer distractions to actually notice the activity of local animals.

“I have been watching a pair of Cooper’s hawks nesting out front of my house all day today. Normally I would be at work. I’d probably be coming home and maybe turning the Jets on, or going somewhere with my head down.

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With flood season imminent, animals are also making their own preparations to stay safe from the rising rivers, which might be why we’re seeing more critters straying further from their traditional home ranges.

Around this time last year, said Miller, there were some notable incidents of wild turkeys harassing patrons at Osborne Village restaurants and showing up in schoolyards.

“I think for the wildlife, it’s sort of a bit of a bonanza, and we’re in a position to watch it this year.”

Click to play video: 'Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: Cooper’s hawk'
Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: Cooper’s hawk

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