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Spring 2017

  "Sunnyside Acres Sentinel"


Spring is sprung...The grass is riz...I wonder where da  boidies is?  The boidies de is on the wing...That's absoid....da wing is on the boid!





Trees in snow

That some trees live to me hundreds of year old?  This giant sequoia


stands at 247 feet  tall & is estimated to be over 3,200 years old. In Sunnyside Acre's forest the cedar has the longest longevity at approximately 1000 years  with the Douglas firs coming in second at 800 and Hemlock living to about 500 years of age. The oldest tree in the park is probably not older than 100 years.


Why We Need Forests? Without forests, Earth would be uninhabitable. Forests provide water storage, dictate weather patterns and, critically, act as the planet's lungs by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere through photosynthesis.One large tree can supply a day's supply of oxygen for four people. They are nature's lungs. As the biggest plants on the planet, they  also stabilise the soil and give life to the world's wildlife. And, they  provide us with the materials for tools and shelter. source



Sunnyside Acres has  deer, coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, opossum and raccoons living inside its forest  along with 69  bird species. Spring is the season for new birth and that includes wildlife who must not be disturbed by people breaking new trails or off leash dogs running free. Imagine your dog coming across a den of defenseless bunnies or a small dog meeting up with a hungry coyote! Neither scenario creates  good images.










There are also human issues with unleashed dogs. Some folks are afraid of dogs especially bounding down a trail towards them. There has been a couple cases of over enthusiastic dogs biting walkers and dogs fighting.

South Surrey/White rock dog owners are very fortunate to have a number of off leash doggie parks: 20th-137th...Centennial Park...Blackie's Spit...Crescent Beach water park to name a few...Please respect Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest's rules. We welcome you and your dog, just obey the leash law.







Baby birds
Baby animals
Person walking dog
Dogs playing

                      CO-EXISTING WITH URBAN WILDLIFE 

Dogs and Deer on Deck



Living near a woodlot or urban forest has many advantages.  The air is much cleaner, and temperatures are cooler in summer's heat.  And, then there is the wildlife that make their homes in the trees, and underbrush. Unfortunately much of their habitat due to human development is shrinking and with it comes an influx of critters seeking den sites and new food sources.  This interaction not only causes problem for the wildlife but in some cases for the human habitat they are forced to share.   Can we co-exist?   

 Most people look for ways to help, not harm  the wildlife who are co-habitating with them. You can make your life and the lives of our wild critters easier by following these few tips;





Check your house and shed for openings that wildlife can use to enter for denning.  Use heavy gauge wire screening  to block off these entrances.


Place caps over all chimneys and vents on your roof to prevent birds, squirrels and raccoons from taking up residence and becoming a nuisance or getting trapped.

Keep birdfeeders and surrounding grounds clean to avoid disease and rats.

Trim trees leading to your roof.​


Fill in under hot tubs with brick or screening.


Do not encourage wildlife by feeding or leaving out pet food in your yard.


Secure your garbage with bungi cords.  Keep in garage if possible.


Cover your swimming pool!


Keep birdfeeders and surrounding grounds clean to avoid disease and rats.


Rather than trying to get rid of so-called “nuisance” wildlife, the best coping strategy might be to learn to enjoy and appreciate the species  which are simply trying to survive by sharing our environment.


Squirrel reaching


                                                               Try taking a squirrel’s eye view of your house so it doesn’t become a squirrel haven.



 Did you know that a grey squirrel can jump 8 feet sideways, 4 feet straight up, and down 15 feet, then hang on to where it  lands?  Positioning bird feeders more than 8 feet from a tree or building and on a pole with a squirrel baffle may save you  money, and allow the birds to eat in peace.  I say may, because nothing is ever ‘for sure’ when it comes to dealing with  these  furry-tailed rodents.

 If you have a tree next to your house, does it provide access onto the roof?

 Robbing bird feeders is nothing compared to the damage that squirrels can do to your attic once they have gained  entrance.  Chewing electrical wires is a favourite pastime along with gnawing on those lovely wooden tresses.     Squirrel’s  teeth continue to grow so they must constantly chew.

Screen your soffits, and cap your chimneys, then watch your resident squirrel for a day or two.  Find out where it's nesting.  If it isn’t causing damage to your home, leave it alone.  If you have a tall tree, try providing the animal with a nesting box.  A little peanut butter or a handful of nuts placed inside the box may entice the critter to use it.  If you have a squirrel in your attic, have it professionally removed.  The wildlife control person will repair any damage the errant squirrel caused and screen off potential entrance sites.

 If squirrels are denning in your chimney  and you’re not  using your fireplace, leave them alone. Keep draft vent shut. Once the babies have left, have the chimney cleaned and capped by a professional.  Do not try to smoke them out.

If you must use the chimney, have a humane pest control company remove the animals. The mother will take her babes to another den site nearby.  Your yard will remain her territory forbidding other squirrels however, the trauma of the capture will make your'home' a hostile environment and she will not re-enter.  Ensure that  the area  is disinfected to remove the squirrel’s scent and screened. Chimneys must be cleaned of the nesting debris prior to lighting a fire to prevent  carbon monoxide poisoning from occurring  within your home.

DO NOT TRAP AND RE-LOCATE ANY WILDIFE. This practice spreads disease, causes undue stress and usually death to the animal while seeking out a new territory and will not solve a thing.  Why?  Because the minute you remove one animal from its territory another will take over.  So practice prevention, give the squirrel a feeder away from the birds and enjoy nature in your own backyard

 SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO AVOID HARMING                                                    WILDLIFE

Prevent your pet cats and dogs from attacking and/or "playing with" wildlife. Don't allow them to run without supervision.  Raccoons do not seek out cats and dogs as a food source!  However should your pet be very territorial and insist on defending its grounds the raccoon will most likely win in any scrimmage.  As a rule in an urban situation, raccoons tend to ignore cats and will run from dogs however if the animal is cornered or defending its young it will attack! 


Raise your cats as indoor pets. Thousands of birds die yearly due to cat attacks.


 Alert birds to large expanses of glass in your home, such as patio doors or picture windows, by hanging streamers, putting bird silhouettes on the glass surface, or by allowing the glass to be a little bit dirty. Reducing the reflection should cut down on the number of birds who collide, often fatally, with windows and doors.


Educate children to respect and care for all wild creatures and their habitats.  Teach them  that wild animals are not playthings and should be allowed to go about their lives unmolested not left unattended in glass jars or airtight boxes.


Pick up litter and refuse that could harm wildlife, including six-pack  rings, monofilament fishing line which birds and sealife often become entangled. 




 What goes up...must come down and in our area this can lead to sea mammals dying. Turtles will eat plastic mistakeing it for jelly fish..whales and other sea creatures have been found dead due to their intestines wrapped in string from released balloons. Release ladybugs and butterflies in memorium or celebrations.


Be alert when driving, especially near  woodlots and parks, to avoid hitting or running over wild creatures. Animals do not recognize the danger from an oncoming vehicle.  Know where to take an injured animal or who to call.


As a general rule, leave infant wildlife alone, since they are not always truly orphaned. A parent may be nearby or will return soon. Be sure they are in need of help before you remove them from a  nest or den. If you find young birds on the ground,    you can attempt to return them to the nest.  


Do not attempt to raise or keep wildlife yourself. Not only is it illegal, but wild creatures do not make good pets and captivity poses a constant stress to them. Young wild animals raised without contact with their own species fail to develop survival skills and fear of humans virtually eliminating their chances of survival in the wild.







  Do not attempt to pick up an injured animal if it is conscious and a threat to your safety.


 Remember, the animal is frightened and thinks you are a threat.  It will try to defend itself.  Take special care about teeth, claws and beaks.


Always wear gloves and protective clothing when handling wild animals.  Take care to protect your eyes and other vulnerable body parts.  Many animals, such as some sea birds, will instinctively grab for shiny objects.  Exposed or dangling jewelry and buttons may be a tempting target, as are your moist shiny eyes.  Take proper precautions.


Wash your hands and clothes thoroughly after handling any wild animals.  Immediately report bites or other injuries to your doctor.  Some animals carry life threatening diseases which can be transmitted to humans and to domestic animals.   


Try to contain it for pick-up, this can be done by covering with a blanket or placing it in or under a box.  A heating pad placed under part of the box on a “low” setting will be sufficient.  Check periodically to be sure that the animal is not too hot, and can move away from or nearer the heat as it needs.


Cover kits who do not have their eyes open with a warm towel [they will die of exposure quickly if left unattended]


Call your local wildlife facility.  CRITTERCARE WILDLIFE SOCIETY 604-530-2054  Stay with the animal until help arrives


                                                                      After hours call emergency SPCA 604-879-7343    


Do not attempt to FEED.  A special formula is required.  Cow’s milk will cause intestinal problems.  Your wildlife rehabilitator will instruct you on an emergency treatment



             IT’S THE LAW...


              If you decide to take in and care for a baby bird or other wild animal beyond giving basic first aid or transporting it to a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitation facility, you may be subject to laws which regulate the possession of wildlife.  In B.C. no-one can keep in their possession any wildlife with out a permit from Fish and Wildlife or the Canadian Wildlife Service.


Ducklings in tree



 The squirrel on the left is a Douglas Squirrel native to B.C The one on the right is an Eastern Grey.     

The most common squirrel in the province’s urban centres, the Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) was released into Stanley Park in 1914.


“Eastern Grey Squirrels are much larger than native squirrels, are either grey or black in colour, and flourish in urban environments. The increasing number of Eastern Grey Squirrels is often blamed for the decrease in native squirrel populations, however given that these squirrels have different food and shelter preferences, its more likely that urban development and the loss of coniferous forests is responsible.”


 So how did this squirrel get here just over 100 years ago? Some reports say that the squirrels were a gift from the Mayor of New York City in 1909 but Jolene from Stanley Park History found that in 1909 Vancouver Park Board Chair, Charles Tisdall, wrote to various American cities in search of purchasing “grey squirrels” for Stanley Park.

“The City of Vancouver Archives holds numerous other letters over several years relating to this quest. There is also a receipt made out to Chas. Tisdall which reads, “2 doz grey squirrels to be shipped as soon as possible – $40″. The receipt is from Wenz & Mackensen, Naturalists, Yardley, Pennsylvania and dated January 3, 1910 […] According to other documents at Archives, it appears there was a problem securing those 2 dozen and the search for replacements promptly continued.”

  The Douglas Squirrel, which is reddish brown and half the size of the Eastern Grey, is much less likely to approach people for food, and tends to live in more forested areas.

 The Eastern Grey Squirrel, while cute, fuzzy, and fun to watch bounce around, is actually listed in by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) as one of the Top 100 Invasive Species in the world. 

                                                                                                                                       source Stanley Park Ecological Society                 

Squirrel in feeder

           Outwitting Squirrels

Squirrels robbing your birdfeeders?


Well, unless you're a rocket scientist they will probably readily figure out any devices for squirrel proofing your feeders. Many have tried, and more have failed. However after doing an intenet search we offer the following tips.

Squirrels are rodents, and are born to gnaw. Their incisors never stop growing, so they must chew constantly to keep them worn down. They have seemingly insatiable appetites and can easily consume up to 1kg of food per week! They are also extremely cunning, and physically equipped to successfully overcome the obstacles that we put in their way.

Anyone who has ever tried to outwit a squirrel with a mechanical device knows how difficult this can be. Squirrels can climb polished steel poles. They can leap more than 8 feet. Their tails give them phenomenal balance, allowing them to effortlessly cross long lengths of thin wire. They can dig and, yes, they can even swim – so building a moat to protect your bird feeders from squirrels is probably not the answer!

If you are troubled by squirrels in your garden and on your feeders and bird tables, then you essentially have three options. The first is to adopt a few squirrel-deterring methods and hope they do the trick. The second is to provide an alternative feeding station just for the squirrels, so that they leave your bird feeders alone.  

Grey squirrels, like us, are diurnal (active during the day) and omnivores (eat both plants and animals). Grey squirrels normally eat conifer seeds as well as some insects and even baby birds.

Once a grey squirrel discovers a food source, like your birdseed, they are very difficult to keep away.   They will cross a rope by hanging upside down and defeat your most ingenious homemade squirrel deterrents. And they always seem to be a couple of I.Q. points ahead of us humans.

Here are a few solutions that can hopefully restore humans as a more intelligent species.

My solution is to place my feeders on poles with a predator guard on the pole. The predator guard I like is about 2-3 feet long and cylindrical shaped. You can buy them at Birds Unlimited or I make my own out of six inch stove pipe. As long as the feeders are at least 12 feet from the nearest tree and 5 or 6 feet up the pole, your seed is safe.

If you hang your feeder from a line or rope, you can string plastic soda or water bottles on the line and watch as the squirrel spins around and off, trying to cross the free-spinning bottles.

If you hang your feeders from your deck then a specialized feeder may be your best choice. There are many squirrel-proof feeders available on the internet that slide shut with the weight of the squirrel but stay open for lighter weight birds. I know folks that have them and guarantee they work. But the best entertainment value for your dollar might be the “Yankee Flipper.” This $90 tube type birdfeeder is battery operated. When a squirrel jumps on the feeder it spins rapidly and flings the squirrel ten feet out into the yard. I have seen videos and it looks like fun for both you and the squirrel.  Source  Don Hazel  author,  published by the Crossville Chronicle.

                              Greasing your feeder pole or using a squirrel slinky to stop squirrels scaling the pole may also be worth trying., or at the very least good for a giggle or two.      If all else fails try reading Outwitting Squirrels by Bill Alder Jr.

Owl chicks
Baby birds

Many owl species have asymmetrical ears. When located at different heights on the owl’s head, their ears are able to pinpoint the location of sounds in multiple dimensions. Ready, aim, strike.

The eyes of an owl are not true “eyeballs.” Their tube-shaped eyes are completely immobile, providing binocular vision which fully focuses on their prey and boosts depth perception.

Owls can rotate their necks 270 degrees. A blood-pooling system collects blood to power their brains and eyes when neck movement cuts off circulation.

A group of owls is called a parliament. This originates from C.S. Lewis’ description of a meeting of owls in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Owls hunt other owls. Great Horned Owls are the top predator of the smaller Barred Owl.


Barn Owls swallow their prey whole—skin, bones, and all—and they eat up to 1,000 mice each year.

Northern Saw-whet Owls can travel long distances over large bodies of water. One showed up 70 miles from shore near Montauk, New York.    Source


Great Horned Owl nest
Barred Owl
Owl colouring-in page



Did you know that we will be having an OWL PROWL in Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest Park? It's going to be lots of fun listening and looking for OWLS. Check out our home page and register and we will sign you up.

Owls are birds of prey. ... After an owl eats the small rodents, birds, and bugs that are a part of its nightly diet, its stomach cannot digest the fur, bones, teeth, feathers, and insect shells from that food. These “extra” parts are formed into a tightPELLET inside the owl and are then are later SPIT UP by the owl.

Owl facts

   Q: What did the grape say when the Owl stood on it?...  A: Nothing, it just let out a little wine!

   Q: Why did the Owl invite his friends over?... A: He didn’t want to be Owl by himself.

Owls are birds of prey. ... After an owl eats the small rodents, birds, and bugs that are a part of its nightly diet, its stomach cannot digest the fur, bones, teeth, feathers, and insect shells from that food. These “extra” parts are formed into a tightPELLET inside the owl and are then are later SPIT UP by the owl.

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