Watching wildlife is one of the pleasures of living on a woodland in southern Oregon. You can often easily spot deer, raccoon, possum, skunk, rabbit, a myriad of rodents, frogs and toads, dozens of different kinds of birds, and even occasionally a cougar, coyote, or bear. Depending on your goals, you might want to just identify what you see, encourage certain wildlife to inhabit your property or discourage some types of animals from coming around.
To identify the wildlife you see, check the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Species Lists (many with excellent pictures). In addition to the online list, there are two downloadable brochures, About Oregon’s Small Mammals and About Oregon’s Large Mammals.
There are also a number of books available which are specifically geared toward identifying Pacific Northwest animals.
Living with Wildlife
If you have wildlife around you, no matter what it is, there is some give and take. Deer are beautiful to watch, but if you want a garden you’ll need to take certain precautions, like a tall fence! Raccoons are cute, but they can get into everything. Skunks are brave for their size and you probably don’t want to make one mad! Whatever visitors you have, make the necessary arrangements to make sure that you, your family, your pets and your animal visitors are safe.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website has an excellent series on Living with Wildlife, including information and guidelines for a number of different common animals.
If you are looking to encourage certain types of animals, birds, butterflies or insects to visit or reside on your property, the key is to create a habitat that is inviting to your desired guests. There are many organizations, groups and websites providing information on all different types of wildlife and habitats.
A great resource for learning how to manage for specific types of wildlife on your land, from deer and elk to wood ducks, is the series of publications from the Woodland Fish and Wildlife Project.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has a 204 page how-to guide, Naturescaping, “for gardening the way Mother Nature intended”, available through their online store for $15.00.
The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Pollinators, which are typically invertebrates, are extremely important to a healthy habitat. Their site contains a wide variety of information and they publish Books, Guidelines, Fact Sheets and Plant Lists, many of which are available in downloadable .pdf format.
Discouraging Nuisance Wildlife
If you have bothersome wildlife on your property, the information above on Living With Wildlife may help. Sometimes you can discourage them by creating a habitat that does not encourage them. Sometimes fencing can help.
If you run into serious problems, contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife for suggestions.
ODFW Rogue Watershed District Office
1495 E. Gregory Road
Central Point, OR 97502