Thankful this Thanksgiving

It can be easy to take our local wildlife for granted and have them blend into the scenery of our everyday lives. At the Wildlife Medical Clinic, we’re thankful we get to work with wildlife to treat their medical conditions and help relieve their pain. Here’s a list of 4 reasons we are thankful for our local wildlife, as some inspiration for what we do!

They’re masters at recycling

We appreciate how resourceful wild animals are! Birds and squirrels use twigs and fallen leaves to build their nests. Snakes take advantage of fallen logs and rocks to hide from predators. Opossums and raccoons are there to clean up fallen fruits. Carrion birds like turkey vultures and scavengers also play a role in keeping the environment clean, not letting anything go to waste.

Nature’s pest control

We can rely on wildlife to control bug populations near our homes! Illinois snakes like to avoid people, but even if you don’t see them, they’re helping keep mice and other pests out of your house. Virginia opossums can eat all the ticks in your yard, helping to protect you and your pets from dangerous tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease.

Early disease detection

The health of an ecosystem can be monitored by evaluating certain species of animal that are particularly sensitive to their surroundings. Some birds, like the American crow, can be affected by West Nile Virus. This disease is spread by mosquitos and can also cause disease in people and horses! An increase in animal cases of West Nile Virus may serve as an early marker for increased disease risks to humans, prompting local health departments to increase
mosquito control measures and protect our communities. Additionally, presence of a variety of species in the same area is often a good indication of a flourishing ecosystem.

 A beautiful soundtrack for the outdoors

Nothing can make a sunny day better than hearing birds outside. Their calls are pleasant and calming to listen to. Hearing the echo of a woodpecker making quick work of a tree can bring back memories of cool nights or camping trips. Wherever you may live, a reliable feature of nighttime is crickets chirping and the occasional owl announcing their presence. Another indicator it’s fall is hearing the rustling of leaves when squirrels feverishly bury food to later dig up over the winter.

What are the reasons you’re thankful for local wildlife? Share them with us on social media
(Facebook: @UIWMC)!

This article was written by Monika Liszka, Class of 2022