There are widely varying opinions on whether to feed or not to feed. The practice is undertaken extensively overseas, where it is being used increasingly as a conservation tool. It is, however, typically discouraged in Australia for a range of reasons.
The fact remains that supplementing available food may increase the number of animals, though not necessarily species, you attract. A variety of birds or mammals may take advantage of a free meal!
This can facilitate seeing species in much closer proximity than you would otherwise and allow you to enjoy the antics rarely seen by the casual observer.
If you are feeding it is recommended:
- Don’t allow the wildlife to become dependent on you.
- Feed small amounts, which can be eaten in a relatively short space of time and don’t feed every day. Uneaten food may attract vermin (e.g. mice, rats, foxes)
- Ensure high-quality food such as proprietary wild bird seed mixes or nectar solutions are used. Some sources including bread are poor in nutritional value, while discarded cage bird seed represents a potential health risk to native species.
- Ensure the feeding containers and surrounding areas are kept clean to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
It is worth reviewing your actions on a regular basis, to consider whether you are having a positive or negative impact on native wildlife.