At a recent board meeting of the Granby Land Trust, a discussion occurred regarding dog walking on Land Trust properties. Leashed dogs have been and are always welcome, but board member and veteran birder John Weeks brought “secondary scent-vectored predation” to the table at a recent board meeting. With regard to the Land Trust properties, this term relates unleashed dogs with nesting birds.
Many of the birds in our area nest on the ground, among them wild turkeys, veerys, ovenbirds and black and white warblers. Unleashed dogs may go into the brush right up to one of their nests, and although the dog usually does no harm except to sniff, it leaves behind its scent. The scent attracts other animals, such as fox, coyotes, raccoons, bobcats as well as domesticated cats — all of which will do more than just sniff.
Therefore, although dogs should be leashed at all times, the Land Trust hopes that visitors to the properties from April through the end of July will be especially careful to keep this in mind while walking the trails. The Land Trust is cognizant of ways to promote positive ecology for wildlife, and leashed dogs go a long way toward that end. Not only is this beneficial to the wildlife, but also to the dogs, who are less likely to pick up ticks that cling to the tall grasses off the trails.