Don’t feed the wildlife in Sisters

 

Last updated 9/20/2022 at Noon

JERRY BALDOCK

Yes, it’s tempting — but don’t feed them.

People new to Sisters Country, or those visiting, often come from larger urban areas. They are understandably enchanted by local wildlife, particularly our town deer. The urge to feed wildlife can be tempting, and it seems like a caring thing to do.

Wildlife experts have been trying for years to get people not to feed deer and other wildlife. They don’t need food from humans to survive. Human food is not healthy for wild animals, and can make them sick. Wild animals have specialized diets, and they can become malnourished or die if fed the wrong foods.

Feeding them can lead to a number of serious problems. Many foods people commonly feed to animals, such as peanuts, are actually bad for them, and can cause health problems. Bread is harmful to most animals, including birds, squirrels, ducks, geese, and deer.

When humans feed wildlife, they can become tame and habituated to humans, and then become a nuisance or a danger. Animals like deer attract cougars; wild rabbits attract coyotes. And both may attack small domestic pets.

If you choose to feed birds or squirrels, use whole, natural foods such as seeds, filberts, apples, squash, or corn. But remember, if you put those out intending them for the squirrels, chances are it will also attract animals you shouldn’t be feeding – like deer. To feed songbirds, use a secure container that prevents access from other animals. Be sure to keep any bird feeder clean so the food doesn’t get contaminated by sick birds.

Sisters City Council addressed concerns about residents feeding the deer by passing an amendment to the Municipal Code, 6.05.105 Feeding of deer prohibited. “A person, who knowingly places, deposits, distributes, stores or scatters food, garbage or any other attractant so as to constitute a lure, attraction or enticement for deer, may be issued a written notification by an agent of the City of Sisters requiring the person to remove the food, garbage or other attractant within two days of notification.”

 

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