More Wildlife on the Metro’s Roadways: Biologist Explains Why

Mild winters, city expansion and seasonal breeding are just a few of the reasons for more inner-city wildlife

MOORHEAD, Minn. —  Locals are noticing more wildlife along our roads and in our neighborhoods.

“I have my cat out there with me and he’s chasing all these rabbits, squirrels, and birds,” said Scott Wieber of South Fargo. “He’s got a few and I had to take them out of his mouth.”

Badgers, Canada geese and turkeys seem to be on the rise in the Metro.

We asked MSUM biologist Donna Stockrahm why.

The big answer: Tis’ the season for breeding.

“This is the time of year when all the babies are being born and starting to disperse,” said MSUM Biology Professor Donna Stockrahm. “As soon as they disperse, they’re going different places.”

But there’s more to it.

She said recent mild winters and city expansion likely caused more wildlife to appear now than in past years.

These animals used to live in large fields which are now being taken over by road and home construction.

Some animals fled elsewhere while others coexist with the bustling city life.

“It’s mainly animals that have adapted to living with humans,” said Stockrahm.

She said there’s a few hotspots where you might run into more wildlife such as any place along the Metro’s rivers, parks and golf courses.

She told us they like to make homes in places with large grassy fields and lots of water.

“We definitely have more Canada geese that have just discovered no predators, no hunting, this is pretty nice,” said Stockrahm.

Mild winters mean less winterkill.

It’s possible there’s more wildlife lurking in our backyards now than in the recent past.

“There are roughly about a thousand turkeys that live in the Fargo-Moorhead area,” added Stockrahm.

It’s recommended you observe these animals from a distance.

As for how to avoid running them over: Stockrahm recommends slowing down and paying attention.

She said her students found many of these wild animals in our city parks, including grey foxes.

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