DEAR JOAN: Last week I was ready to turn in when I heard a flock of geese flying over our home. It was 10:40 at night. They were flying north, toward a large field about a quarter mile from our home where we are accustomed to seeing flocks of Canada geese land.
Lately, we've heard coyotes late at night yipping from that general direction. The geese flying that night were flying during the last full moon.
Do Canada geese fly at night? I would appreciate your thoughts. I have always enjoyed seeing and hearing the flocks flying by, but always during the day.
DEAR NICOLE: Although we think of birds as roosting during the night, Canada geese do fly at night, especially during the migration.
The geese have excellent memories and vision, allowing them to spot and remember landmarks on the ground and in the sky. Although they don't have the night vision of a cat, their ability to see in the dark is 12 times greater than ours. In daylight, they see color better than we do.
The birds probably were taking advantage of the moonlight to help them on their southward journey.
DEAR JOAN: I have scoured the city and county websites to find out who I should contact about getting a dead animal picked up. There is a dead squirrel in the street gutter in front of my home. It appeared last Saturday afternoon and I don't know how or why it ended up there.
DEAR BABS: It's not as simple as it used to be.
Most animal control agencies will pick up dead animals, although with the increased burden on those agencies and less money in their coffers to pay staff, you may have to wait for a while for someone to respond. Others have decided to use their resources elsewhere.
No matter where you live, try animal control first. If they no longer handle it, they'll advise you on what to do. If you pick it up yourself, be sure to wear suitable, protective clothing. There are companies that will do it for a price.
State and federal law makes it illegal to collect or possess any species of protected birds, even dead ones, and deer killed alongside roadways.
Those deaths should always be reported to authorities and allow the experts to collect the carcasses.
The state would like the public's help documenting dead animals which you can do by going to www.wildlifecrossing.net/california and reporting sightings. It helps the Department of Transportation to zero in on problem areas.
DEAR JOAN: I have just landscaped my front yard with California native shrubs, most of which attract indigenous birds and butterflies. After completing the planting, someone told me that crows will attack and kill smaller birds.
I have a huge cork oak tree at my curb. It is packed with crows and squirrels. Is there anything I can do to protect the birds and butterflies that will be attracted to my garden without detracting from the beauty of the landscaping?
DEAR PATRICIA: Any efforts to exclude one bird will likely exclude all birds. Playing recordings of crows in distress may scare them away. You also can plant or set out food that attracts some species and not others, but nature will be nature.