Feeding wildlife


When encountering a wild animal, whether it’s a raccoon, hare, duck or hummingbird, one can be tempted to feed it. However, while seemingly harmless, and in some circumstances beneficial, feeding wildlife can also have negative repercussions. It is important to be informed to know whether our actions are having a positive or negative impact on wildlife.

What's the harm in feeding wild animals?

A seemingly harmless gesture, feeding the wildlife with good intention can have negative repercussions on both the animal and ourselves.

canard couple
raccoon phone

Attracting songbirds

Songbirds, such as hummingbird, have a different foraging behaviour than aquatic birds, which makes them less vulnerable to human actions. Songbirds also have a more nomadic lifestyle, travelling through different food station networks without staying long, and taking advantage of each location. When putting up a birdfeeder:

  • Get information on the nutritional needs of the songbird you would like to attract (for example, honey is bad for hummingbirds);
  • Ensure that its location is not accessible to predators;
  • You can replace the feeder with native plant in your garden that the songbird like.
  • A source of fresh drinking water can also be beneficial if it’s maintained and clean, making sure to change the water regularly.

Wildlife's DOs and DON'Ts

It’s best to enjoy wildlife from afar by observing it without interfering. However, it is always good to be informed of what should be done and what should be avoided. The following is a list of tips you can apply to enjoy wildlife:



  1. Gouvernement du Québec, les animaux sauvages n’ont pas besoin de votre aide!, 2023.
  2.  BCSPCA, Don’t feed the wildlife, 2022.
  3. Toronto Wildlife center, should you feed wildlife?, 2023.
  4. Gouvernement des Territoires du Nord-Ouest, ne nourrissez pas les animaux sauvages, 2014.
  5.  Gouvernement de l’Ontario, Feeding wildlife : do and don’ts, 2022.
  6.  Ville en vert, Nourrir les animaux sauvages en ville : mythes et réalités, 2022.
  7. PROWLS, hummingbird feeders : don’t use honey!, 2021.
  8.  Iowa state university, Feeding wildlife, 2023.
  9. U.S department of agriculture, Don’t feed wildlife, 2023.

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