In the early 1960’s, Carleton MacNaughton (did I spell that right?), started a local wild life zoo. I know he did not call it a zoo but I don’t recall the terminology he used to describe the business.
The only critters he had that were not from the Okanagan were a pair of raccoons. They were so cute with their masked eyes and little feet.
Eventually Carleton sold the business to a man not quite as discerning as himself. After a period of time, the fellow set free all the animals and they all dispersed into their natural habitat.
There had never been raccoons in the Okanagan Valley before so most of the competition for food was with skunks. Raccoons don’t catch mice very easily but they are deadly with the nests of shore birds and quails nests. For ground dwelling critters raccoons are a blight.
There are a number of invasive species of birds that have become pests such as the English House sparrow. Where ever there is a building you’ll have English House sparrows.
When Wally had chickens, Wally had House sparrows too. They ate the grain as well as the mash pellets. As their numbers grew so did their appetites. Then they moved into the chicken pen to roost for the night. That was the last straw. One night Wally took a flashlight and a club and cleaned the House sparrows out of the chicken pen.
Of course there are the starlings too. Their numbers were not very huge when Wally had cherries. At the time we did not know that starlings are cavity nesters. We also didn’t know how aggressive they are when it comes to nesting sites and that they will drive out other birds and put their own nest right on top of the previous nest.
The last time I was in Oliver I noticed a new dove in town. It is called Eurasian Collared dove. This bird is one that has been released by someone who had them as a pet.
I know a lady who feeds the quail.Three years ago she saw one or two Eurasians feeding. Recently their numbers are upwards around 30 at a feeding at her place.
They are bullies and compete for food with the local Mourning doves. Isn’t it is time to cull the Eurasians in order to preserve the local Mourning doves? The Eurasians have a brown band on their neck and are bigger than the Mourning doves.
Culling is something I don’t take lightly, but when we allow invasive species to drive out the local species, shouldn’t we be prepared to take action?