Whether it's throwing bread to ducks in the park or feeding peanuts to squirrels in the backyard, many people see feeding as a way to enhance their experience with wildlife. Wild animals are beautiful and fascinating, and no one can be faulted for wishing to interact with them, but these interactions often lead to unintended consequences for both the humans and the animals involved.
Regular, direct interaction with humans often leads to habituation, causing the animals to approach any humans they encounter. The root cause of many human/wildlife confl icts can be traced directly to habituation caused by feeding. In addition, many of the foods that people feed to wild animals are inappropriate and unhealthy for them to eat in large quantities. What seems like a helpful handout may actually lead to long-term health challenges for the animals.
There is a way you can feed wildlife without these and other potential complications. Landscape your yard with native seed, fruit and nectar producing plants. By doing this you will be providing your wild neighbors with much more than just a handout. You will be giving them habitat, and that is something that is in increasingly short supply these days.
Landscaping your yard with native plants, such as this Red Elderberry, will provide wildlife with not only food, but shelter and nest sites as well.