Why You Shouldn’t Feed Wildlife
San Antonio residents have fed the ducks in the city parks for years and now they’re also feeding the deer.
If you go to any park with a lake or pond you’ll see native ducks, non-native ducks, and non-native geese. You’ll also see people there feeding them bread.
They mean well when they break out the loaf of day-old bread and begin breaking off pieces for the birds.
Ducks Unlimited on its How to handle urban ducks page says, “Feeding ducks and geese bread, crackers and other unnatural foods is bad for the birds. Waterfowl are genetically designed to eat a wide variety of insects and invertebrates that occur naturally in their habitat and provide critical nutrients.”
Some residents have begun to feed healthier food like peas and corn. But their free lunch comes with a price for the birds.
The food can cause poor nutrition. Birds become too thin or too fat. The malnutrition gets passed on to their offspring. It’s visible in deformities that can be obvious like a deformed bill.
The deformities may also take some education to spot such as angel wings. Angel wings are when the duck or goose is unable to fold its wings completely down against its body.
Deer are also a favorite of some residents to feed for various reasons. Residents are worried they’re not getting enough to eat because they look thin. Other residents just want to be able to watch the deer because they enjoy seeing them.
There are a couple of reasons a person should consider before throwing out some corn for the neighborhood deer to eat.
According to the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Department’s pamphlet DEER IN THE CITY, “Deer corn is akin to junk food”
San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson, Chris Espinoza said, “There is no code (prohibiting) on feeding animals, but we do not encourage people feeding animals.”
Animal Care Services gives other reasons for not feeding deer such as increased car-deer accidents, disease risks, and property damage.
If you care about San Antonio’s urban wildlife stop feeding them and disrupting their natural cycle.
Learn how to interact with our wild neighbors the right way. There are other resources available to help guide you on engaging with urban wildlife to include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Departments education programs.
Please enjoy San Antonio’s abundant urban wildlife. But do so respectfully and at a distance.