Please Don’t Feed the Wildlife!

Julie Anderson

Those quail, ducks, and roadrunners are sure fun to watch, but PLEASE do not feed them! Whenever you feed wild birds and animals, you are encouraging them to lose their natural fear of people and become dependent on unnatural food sources. You are asking them to risk their lives for your enjoyment, as feeding them attracts predators such as feral cats and coyotes. You think you are doing something positive for the bird or animal, but it usually leads to conflict. Wild birds and animals do best when left to fend for themselves, learning to forage for food with one eye out for danger. Mother Nature is at times harsh (well, okay, a lot of times, she is harsh), but she knows what she is doing. Offering cheese, Chex Mix, or breadcrumbs, messes with the digestive system of wildlife, helps spread disease, and inevitably weakens the bird or animal. Plus, and you know this is coming, it attracts RATS! Rats are aggressive, opportunistic eaters, and they will fight for food from the birdfeeders and scattered food that is left out.

And we have another pest in SunBird. A skunk has been spotted during daylight hours on Torrey Pines, waddling between homes and burrowing under a brick wall. Skunks are normally nocturnal, so the fact that it is bold enough to come out during the day is concerning. The fact that it was not bothered by humans watching it is also concerning. Again, let’s work together to deplete the cornucopia of food laid out for wildlife. Pick up citrus, bring in dog food, and do not feed the birds. Liquid hummingbird feeders are the only exception, since they usually have tiny openings that are too small for larger birds and animals to access.

If you suspect you have rats (or skunks or feral cats), call the office. We have traps you may borrow and a list of pest control companies to help you. If you happen to catch a feral cat in a trap, the Humane Society will collect the feral cat at no charge for a resident for the first cat and $100 per cat for additional cats. Do NOT feed the cat or attempt to lure it into your house.

Remember, if you or your neighbor have citrus trees and you need help harvesting, call the HOA office at 480-802-4901. We have a great team of volunteers who are picking citrus every Tuesday, and we will pick your fruit for you. Part of the harvest is taken to a local food bank, and part of the harvest is brought to the clubhouse for residents to enjoy. If you would like to volunteer to pick fruit, call the office. We need you! You can help occasionally or regularly, and it’s a great way to be socially distant and helpful at the same time.

This article is brought to you by R.A.T.—the Rat Attack Team. Our goal is to educate residents to keep the rats out.