University of Illinois Extension

Seasonal Behaviors of Wildlife

Year Round

Woodpeckers damage the siding of houses. Try to scare the birds away as soon as damage is noticed. Netting can be used to protect siding.

Animals fall into window wells. Place a board into the window well so that the animal can crawl out.

Beavers cut trees and shrubs and build dams that cause flooding of lawns, parks, and golf courses. If the flooding cannot be tolerated, contact a nuisance wildlife control operator to trap the beaver.

Deer-related damage to plants can occur year-round. Use fencing and repellents to control the amount of damage.

Deer-vehicle accidents can happen any time of year and any time of day or night. Be alert for deer moving across roads, especially in areas where trees are close to the road.

Coyotes may prey on pets. Do not leave small pets outside unattended, especially at night.


During the spring months Canada geese may aggressively defend a nest or brood. Do not approach geese too closely. (February-May)

Squirrels, raccoons, and birds move into attics to den. Check the outside of your home for any holes or openings and make repairs before an animal takes up residence. (February-May)

Woodchucks may dig burrows under porches, sheds, and decks and eat lawn and garden vegetation. Use fencing to protect valuable plants. (March-April)

Snakes come out of hibernation. If you find a snake in your yard leave it alone. It will soon leave. (March-April)

Deer may damage spring flowers, especially tulips. Apply repellents before deer start browsing on plants. (April-May)

Deer-vehicle accidents have a secondary peak in the spring. Be on the lookout for deer, especially at dusk and dawn. (April-May)

Fox families become more visible. Kits (young foxes) may be seen at the den. Adults may be spotted while they are out foraging for food to bring back to the kits. (April-May)

Mallards may nest in landscaping near homes. Do not disturb the nest. (April-June)

Baby rabbits are found in people’s yards. Young rabbits found in nests should be left alone. Female rabbits only visit the nest twice a day to feed the young. This behavior helps protect the young from being detected by predators. Keep cats and dogs away from the nest. Young rabbits will leave the nest about 3 weeks after they are born. (April-June)

Songbirds become territorial in the spring. They may mistake their reflection in a window for an 'intruder' in their territory and attempt to drive the 'intruder' away. Repeated attempts to get rid of the ‘intruder’ can stress the bird and may result in bill injuries. The best way to help the misguided bird is to cover the outside of the window with a non-reflective sheet of plastic that prevents the bird from seeing its reflection. Clear, plastic painter’s drop cloths work well at blocking the reflection while still allowing light into the room. (May-July)

Baby birds fall out of nests after storms or during the fledging period. If the young bird does not have a full set of feathers, put the bird back in its nest if possible. If the young bird has a full set of feathers and is hopping around on the ground leave it where you found it. Fledglings will spend time near the ground as they learn to fly. The parents will feed the young birds for several weeks after they have fledged. Call a wildlife rehabilitator if the bird is injured. (May-July)

Late spring is the peak of fawning season. Fawns (young deer) may show up in unusual places. Leave the fawn where you found it and do not touch it. The female will return for the fawn. (late May-mid June)


Deer browse a variety of ornamentals, especially hostas and the buds and blooms of roses, lilies, and daylilies. (April-September)

Canada geese and their broods deposit droppings on lawns, sidewalks, and golf courses. Adult geese defend broods and are not easily frightened. (May-August)

Young skunks, foxes, and raccoons move into new areas after leaving their natal dens. (May-September)

Squirrels, raccoons, deer, and woodchucks invade vegetable gardens and damage sweet corn and other vegetables. (June-July)

In agricultural areas, deer damage corn in the silk and milk stages, especially on field edges adjacent to woodlands. (July-August)

Beavers begin cutting mature corn and collect woody material for their winter food supply. (August-October)


Raccoons and squirrels move into attics for the winter. Regularly check your home for holes or openings that animals could use to access your home and make any needed repairs. Be careful not to trap animals inside the building when making repairs. (September-October)

Deer, squirrels, raccoons, beavers, and crows damage agricultural crops. (September-November)

Deer-vehicle accidents peak in November with a secondary peak in the spring. Be alert for deer moving across roadways, particularly at dusk and dawn. (October-November)

Male deer rub antlers on sapling trees or shrubs. If you have had problems with deer rubbing their antlers on your sapling trees or shrubs, September is the time to erect/install tree protectors, netting or fencing, or wrap burlap/chicken wire/hardware cloth around the tree trunks. (September-December)


Canada geese winter on neighborhood retention ponds, and can produce noise and droppings. (November-March)

Rabbits girdle young trees and shrubs. Use fencing to keep rabbits from damaging valuable plants. (December-February)

Deer may severely damage ornamental evergreens, particularly yews and arbor vitae, especially in late winter when other foods are scarce or there’s been an extended period of snow cover and cold temperatures. Repellents are typically ineffective when deer are desperate to find food. (December-March)