Wildlife Question Forum
Web Site Name
If you have routine questions regarding wildlife, please email them to us at: Rehablady11@roadrunner.com

HOWEVER, If you have an animal in distress, call us at 627-9366 or 472-7905. Do not email this type of concern as it may be a day or two before we read our email.

Q: Should We Feed the Deer?

A: The answer is NO. Deer feeding is inadvisable for many reasons. In some states, including New York, it is also illegal. One reason for this is an illness known as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a brain disease similar to Mad Cow Disease.. Chronic Wasting Disease was formerly found only in a few western states. However, in November 2001 it was diagnosed in several deer in Wisconsin. This is the first time CWD has been detected east of the Mississippi River. And further testing shows that it is spreading. As a result, New York State passed legislation prohibiting the feeding of deer.
The theory is this: When deer are fed artificially, they congregate at the feeding site.. Feeding deer also allows weak individuals to survive, those which would ordinarily succumb to natural causes. Weak individuals would most likely be the first to be infected with Chronic Wasting Disease.. Then, when the herd congregates at feeding stations, the weak, infected deer would spread the disease to the rest of the previously healthy herd due to the waste food, urine and feces that build up at these sites. If CWD spreads through the herd, many more deer would die than would succumb due to natural selection. Since the incubation period for this disease can be three years or more, many deer would be infected before the first clinically ill individual is noted.
Excluding Chronic Wasting Disease, there are other reasons to avoid feeding deer. For more information, see the New York State DEC webpage on deer feeding regulations.

An example of unintentional deer feeding!

Q: There is a bird at my bird feeder that doesn't look quite right. What should I do?

A: If you think the bird may be injured or ill, you should contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area for advice. You can find one by calling your local environmental conservation office, or you can try to find one online by entering 'wildlife rehabilitator' in the search box. As a measure to help prevent the spread of diseases among your feathered friends, it is a good idea to clean your bird feeder thoroughly at LEAST once a month. Bring it inside and clean with hot sudsy water with a little chlorine bleach added to disinfect. Make sure you rinse the feeder well to remove all soap and chlorine. Dry it well before hanging it back out. Wooden feeders can be thoroughly dried by placing them in the hot sun.


Q: I found a baby bunny in my back yard and the mother doesn't seem to be around. What should I do?
A: If the bunny's ears are straight up, his fur is fluffed out and not still lying close to the body and he is the size of an orange, he is probably ready to be on his own. Baby cottontail rabbits leave the nest at only 4 weeks of age, and although still quite small, are able to care for themselves. See the photos on our Bunnies page for help in determining how old your bunny is, or call a rehabilitator in your area for advice.
If you have a question you would like answered, please email it to: RehabLady11@roadrunner.com

We will answer all questions to the best of our ability. Please be advised however, that if your question concerns laws and/or state regulations for states other than New York, you should consult your own state Conservation Department.

Baby bunny being cared for at Wilderness Haven.

Q: Do we have porcupines in New York State?

A: Yes! We have trail cameras at some locations at Wilderness Haven and they have photographed porcupines at many times. Porcupines seem to be making a slow come back in the Western New York area. See photos below. We hope to be adding a webpage on porcupines soon.