As the warm weather recedes and the cool temperatures move in, people aren't the only ones getting ready for the seasonal shift.

Animals across the southwest part of Saskatchewan will be making their preparations for the winter season throughout the coming fall.

For people, it can be tempting to help out and intervene with these animals, by providing them with food, water or even shelter.

Leanne Heisler, the area wildlife ecologist for the Swift Current area, would like to remind people to think twice before interfering.

"They tend to avoid people for the most part, so you might see them in the yard every once in a while, but for the most part they're going to avoid people," said Heisler. "The best thing to do is just leave [the animals] alone and to keep, things that might attract animals into yards, it's best to put those away in a secure place."

In the event you do find a critter in your yard as the temperatures drop, it's best to keep away from them, as they will more than likely make their way back out soon enough.

Things like a bird feeder, open trash bins, and other potential sources of food can be a draw for raccoons, skunks, and other mammals. In order to deter them, keeping the bins closed, the bird feeders out of reach, and all other sources secure can help avoid animals setting up camp in your yard.

"A lot of animals are going to be moving out of the province altogether, so a lot of our bird species like waterfowl, some of our boreal songbirds are going to be coming," said Heisler.

Bluebirds and woodpeckers are amongst some of the variants that will be headed south for the winter, which can bring a spot of colour to the trees in folks' yards as the leaves fall. They will be fine to watch and observe as they stop at bird feeders along their way.

A little bit more of a problem will be the local pronghorn populations migrating south as the degrees decrease. They will be making their way through highways, backroads, railroads and even fencing until they reach their home for the winter in the midwest of the United States.

"We've got quite a few pronghorn that kind of move around in the fall, and you're going to be seeing deer moving around," said Heisler. "Just a lot of movement and then there'll be some animals that are starting to get they're going to try and fatten up for the winter."

As you see these creatures on the outskirts of town or out in the field, remember that they are wild animals. Feeding them can create a human dependency that is detrimental to their ability to survive on their own.

In the event that you see one that is wounded or sick, it is still a good idea to keep your distance.

"Even if you find like a small rabbit or something that looks like it's going to die," confirmed Heisler. "Those critters, they're food for predators. Even if animals die out there, they support that ecosystem."

If you do want to take appropriate steps for helping an animal, remember to contact the proper authorities in Saskatchewan Fish and Wildlife.