Keep Wildlife Wild

A bald eagle stands proudly atop a tree
Bald eagles are among numerous bird species that nest at the William Floyd Estate


If You Care, Leave Them There

When we find a wild animal behaving oddly or in an unexpected place, we may think it is diseased or abandoned when in fact it is neither lost nor sick. Young animals, like fawns, may be alone for hours while their parents search for food; some animals, like the piping plover, feign injury to deter predators; and wildlife often survive superficial wounds like bites and scratches. In these situations it is best to let wildlife be because we may cause them undue stress by approaching or handling them.

Report a Sighting

If a wild animal appears to be injured, keep your distance and take a moment to assess the situation. Some animals, such as many migratory birds, can pose a direct health hazard to humans, while others, such as seals, may appear injured when they are not. Your observations will be helpful to authorities if you decide to contact them.

Please see below who to call to report a sighting:

Injured Wildlife within Fire Island Communities

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Stranded Marine Animals (Whales, Dolphins, Sea Turtles)

New York State 24-hour Stranding Hotline

Injured Wildlife at National Park Service Sites on Fire Island (Fire Island Lighthouse, Sailors Haven, Watch Hill, or Wilderness)

Fire Island National Seashore Dispatch

A small white and gray bird is barely visible, blending in to a shell-covered beach.
Piping Plovers are among many bird species protected in restricted nesting areas.


A groupd of seals lounge on a sandbar as one makes a splash.
Seals are often spotted lounging on sandbars and calm beaches.


Why You Shouldn't Feed Wildlife

Our behavior can affect wildlife. In order to keep wildlife wild and to protect them and ourselves, it is important not to disturb them or interfere with their activities.

Do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife can change their natural behaviors. This is even true of inadvertent food sources like garbage or unsecured food items. Gulls, for example, can become "food-conditioned" and may look for food near snack bars or garbage cans.

Food-conditioning can lead to undesirable and potentially unsafe human-wildlife interactions. For example, wild animals that visit a food source in groups are at greater risk of predation and disease. Food-conditioned wildlife may also be more likely to become entangled in fencing, approach us, or be struck by a vehicle when in search of food.

When alarmed, a wild animal may scratch, kick, or bite, and injure those who come too close. Be sure to maintain a safe distance when viewing wildlife.

How You Can Help:

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. To report a sighting see the information above.

  • Secure your food and beverages.

  • Properly dispose of garbage; carry-in, carry-out at National Park Service facilities on Fire Island.

  • Do not touch or feed wildlife.

  • Respect wildlife closure areas.

A fox kit peers out of its den

NPS Photo/Ke Qiang Ruan, 2015 Fire Island Photo Contest Entry

Last updated: August 11, 2022

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120 Laurel Street
Patchogue, NY 11772



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