Do you enjoy feeding wildlife, such as squirrels, ducks, and geese? Did you know that feeding them human food is bad for their health and bad for the environment? These animals are not well adapted to a diet of bread and grain. The birds can become sick, overweight, and unable to fly. For everyone’s health and safety, please do not feed wildlife in city parks.
Squirrels certainly are cute and may show interest in your food, but you should avoid feeding them, especially by hand. Squirrels fed by people can get too comfortable around people and may become a nuisance or aggressive, and may even bite.
Feeding these animals can be harmful to them and to the water quality in local streams. Attracting animals in large numbers increases the amount of their waste, resulting in increased bacteria levels.
Three ways to help local wildlife
Instead of feeding the ducks and geese, learn to birdwatch. The City of Salem’s Park Ranger offers free bird watching tours the first Saturday of the month between May and September. For more information, contact the Park Ranger at
Secure garbage, compost piles, and pet food to avoid attracting wildlife.
Create backyard habitats using native plants which provide the proper food source for wildlife.
Nearby places to appreciate birds in a natural environment