The girls aged 8 and 5 love feeding the birds, and what better way than to get rid of those old stale bread crusts.
The older child, is very scared of the ducks, she claims they have scary eyes, but since the park warden gave her a bag of wild bird seeds, she feels she had an important job to feed the ducks when she visits the park.
We never thought we were doing any harm as, the café in the park sold, along with the coffee and sweets, bags of stale bread at 10p a go.
A friend, a keen birdwatcher told us feeding the ducks bread was a bad thing to do, she never elaborated why? So I decided to do some research, this is what I found out.
Birds normally enjoy a varied diet, of grass, weeds, seeds and aquatic plants; some will eat worms and frogs too. Bread is high in carbohydrates, overloading birds, with this type of food will cause malnutrition in the younger ones. A diet high in carbohydrates creates excessive weight, which brings other problems; the ducks will not be able to fly properly and not learn to forage for healthier foods.
By having a ready supply of food on offer from the public, the bird’s lay more eggs, thus the birdlife expands causing overcrowding, making them more aggressive and territorial.
By feeding in the same area, the birds create dropping that will reduce the oxygen in the water which destroys the aquatic plants. Pollution caused by rotting bread, will further destroy the fish in the water. There is a potential of greater algae growth that can clog the waterways.
Bread not eaten could attract unwelcome animals for example rats, insects and mice.
I have no desire to destroy the ecological system of the local park, we have learnt that it’s better not to feed the ducks, however we enjoy interacting with the wildlife, there is the thought that if you want to feed, then give them foods that is not harmful, for example deseeded grapes, oats, frozen peas that have been defrosted, or wildlife pellets that can be bought.
The weather in the UK is very unpredictable; we tend to go to the park on the spur of the moment, so going out to the shop and buying special wildlife pellets is not really an option; however I do have grapes, oats and frozen peas in my home, which we will take on our next visit.
About the author:
Immigrated to the UK 20 years ago, has an interest in art, culture, community and upliftment projects, is a keen cook, and has a cordon bleu qualification. Currently involved in academia and research. Loves a bargain, and is known as the Voucher Queen amongst her friends. Enjoys writing on topics that interests her. You can follower her on twitter @rowanmoira