Should I feed wildlife or birds in the winter?
Do not feed wildlife. Absolutely not. No way, under any circumstances. There is not a good reason to feed wildlife. Wildlife doesn’t need your help to survive.
Why shouldn’t I feed wildlife or birds?
I hope that makes it clear. Wildlife needs to be wild and feeding them creates many problems. First, outside feeding is not specific to a particular species. You end up feeding a variety of birds and animals. The feeder, the area below the feeder where seed spills and the feeding site are attractive to a wide variety of animals. This leads to interaction and conflict among animals. Second, this spilled feed brings animals to the same location concentrating droppings and disease among the feed. Birds and animals get sick from the exposure to the diseased food. Even in the coldest winter native species will be fine with natural food sources. A result of spilled seed and feed is structural rodent problems.
Does anyone else think feeding wildlife is a bad idea? Are you just trying to keep the outdoor mice population down?
Don’t just take my word for it, Mass Wildlife also recommends not feeding birds or animals. Mass Wildlife writes, ” The best way to help wildlife make it through the winter is to step back and allow the animals’ instincts to take over.” Animals are great at getting the resources they need. Your feed is never necessary and in many cases is detrimental to the animals. Many people have very strong opinions that I am wrong about feeding wildlife. Watching birds and squirrels from inside your home can be a source of comfort for many people.
Still feel compelled to feed the birds? First, read the sensible Mass Audubon tips on bird feeders and consider a bird bath (change the water weekly) and a net to catch fallen seed to help with site sanitation, available at our recommended products page. Finally, Mass Audubon notes that all bird feeders “should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis (once a month) to prevent the spread of disease.” A result will be no harm for the birds you are trying to help.